Take care about senior pets. We are going to discuss why senior pets should be examined, what the veterinarian may be looking for, and what test may be performed. Dr. April Miles, a veterinarian in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, is going to give us a brief introduction on this important topic. A pet may be considered a senior at about seven years on average if youÕre going to take all the breeds and sizes together. Small breed dogs tend to age less quickly than giant breed dogs, for example.
youÕre looking at a great dane, I would generally say that about six years of
age is a senior, whereas a tiny dog may be eight. So average is seven years of
age. Senior exams are really important and I recommend them at least every six
months because they age so much faster than we do. We can pick up subtle
changes that an owner may not see. We listen to the heart and lungs, we can
hear murmurs, arrhythmia, we palpate the abdomen, we confine masses.
owner may find an ear infection or know their dog has bad breath, but we may be
able to pick up on diseases before the owner is aware of them and help prolong
the patientÕs life potentially. Specific questions that your veterinarian may
ask you that can key us in to various underline disease processes is increase
in water consumption, increase in urination, change in defecation behavior,
eating, like if your dog is eating a lot more, activity level, changes in
breathing, exercise intolerance, stuff like than can clue us in to an underline
disease process going on with your animal.
Your veterinarian can also provide you with advice on special diets for your senior pet, especially certain breeds do have certain needs as they get older. Exercise, that could be good for your pet, especially if they have certain diseases, joint disease and stuff. We can discuss what exercise is appropriate. If they have heart disease, we can discuss this with you. Your veterinarian may recommend blood work or a senior wellness profile. These are sort of prescreening things, where weÕre looking for maybe renal insufficiency, kidney disease, liver disease, just any sort of changes.
also like to perform a urinalysis as part of the senior wellness profile and a
fecal, just a basic screening to try to find diseases early, before the owner
is noticing a change in their animal. Many veterinarians recommend that a
senior pet be examined at least twice a year. There are very important changes that
take place in a senior pet that may not be clinical. In other words, your pet
may not be showing any signs early on. However, your veterinarian is trained to
pick up these early changes on a physical exam. I recommend that your pet have
routine blood and urine tests performed at each of these visits. Picking up
your problem before your senior pet gets sick may make all the difference in
their quality of life.