Is Routine Senior Examination and Testing Important to Your Pet?
Your companion is aging at a much faster rate than you are, with an average rate of the dog ageing 7 years to 1 human year, but it does vary on the size of the dog. If you are interested in learning more, please come into the clinic for one of our staff to go over it.
Due the fact our companions age faster than we do, and also due to the additional caveat that our companions can't tell us where is hurts, it is very important to get a complete physical exam on your companion at least yearly. Problems discovered early can often be treated with a higher success rate.
At Empire Veterinary Clinic we recommend a complete physical yearly. Depending on the findings of the doctor and the age of the companion additional tests may be recommended. As your dog or cat ages, many health problems can develop such as arthritis, decreased organ function, impaired mental function. If your pet is diagnosed with arthritis, there are several new drugs available for dogs which can make them much more comfortable and allow them to get around much easier. If you think that your companion is having a hard time getting up, walking around or jumping contact the clinic for an appointment.
Very subtle changes may indicate that organs in the body are not functioning up to par. For example, increased water intake can signal a variety of different problems from infection, diabetes, Cushings disease, renal failure and others. Early detection of any of the diseases may help in getting the condition under control and managing the disease to increase the comfort of you companion.
In addition to problems with the muscles and joints and the internal organs of you companion, dogs may suffer from a syndrome called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). The symptoms at the beginning of this disease are very subtle. They may include loss of house training, confusion and disorientation. These are often symptoms that we dismiss with the rationalization he/she is just getting older. During a Senior exam the symptoms of CDS are gone over and discussed with you. You can monitor your companion for the symptoms as they age.
At Empire Veterinary Clinic, we have developed a Senior Wellness Plan. In this plan is a complete physical exam including a detailed history highlighting symptoms which might point to common senior diseases. After that, baseline lab work is done. This includes a blood panel, a urinalysis and a fecal. Once the results of the exam and the tests are compiled, then a consult is made in person or over the phone to discuss the results and any further testing.