The Importance of Wellness Care and Diagnostic Testing for Senior Pets
When our pets are young, it’s often easy to just assume that they are healthy and that everything is fine. As pets age, however, our attention and understanding of possible health impacts need to be honed if we are to prevent disease and physical deterioration.
Because pets can be experts in masking symptoms and pain, the team at Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital encourages pet owners to consider senior pets specific wellness care.
Why Senior Pets Require Wellness Care for Quality of Life
Generally speaking, the last 25% of a pet’s lifespan is considered to be the “senior years”. This can be a significant amount of time for many cats and dogs, and as a loving pet owner, it is understandable to want to make sure these years are as wonderful as possible.
Senior wellness focuses on the specific health needs of older pets, which often entails assessing for any changes based on a pet’s normal baseline of health. In order to catch changes early, we recommend, at minimum, twice yearly appointments for cats and dogs over the age of 7 years.
Because preventing disease and other health conditions is our aim, our senior wellness appointments encompass all facets of your pet’s wellbeing, including:
- Thorough physical examination (orthopedic, abdominal/thoracic palpation, coat and skin, heart rate/sound etc.)
- Medical history
- Dental health
- Behavior and cognition
- Vision and hearing
- Vaccinations and parasite prevention
- Consultation for questions/general concerns
- Diagnostic testing
Diagnostic Testing: An Indispensable Asset
One of the most important components of your pet’s wellness appointment are lab tests and radiology. These diagnostics are key in ruling out or identifying illnesses or conditions affecting your pet.
Some of the diagnostic tests we recommend for seniors are:
Blood tests – These tests are vital to red and white blood cell counts, which can help us determine conditions common to older pets, like anemia and the presence of an infection. Diseases blood tests can help us diagnose include cancer, kidney disease, and diabetes.
Urinalysis – Also important to assessing health, your pet’s urine sample can contain a world of information. Urinalysis will help identify urinary tract infections, kidney disease, crystals, and a host of other problems that exhibit their presence in the urine composite.
Fecal sample – Often required annually, this exam can determine if a pet is infected with parasitic worms (hookworm, tapeworm, etc.) as well as illness indicators, such as blood or bacteria in the stool.
Because our older pet companions typically deal with orthopedic and sensory challenges, like arthritis and hearing loss, the impact of aging can reduce quality of life. The good news is that, through wellness care and testing, your fur pal can stay at his best, pain-free and supported in any changes to physical well being.
To ensure the continuing good health of your pet, please schedule a wellness appointment with your friends at Wellesley-Natick. We can help you keep the youthful energy and vitality of your four-legged throughout his golden years.