Preventative medicine is a valuable tool to ensure your pet has the longest and healthiest life possible. The idea of preventative care starts at an early age with vaccines, brushing teeth, worming schedules and neutering. At two to three years of age, yearly dental programs are initiated to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease. As the senior stage of a pet’s life begins (around 7 – 9 years old), yearly screening tests are recommended.
Senior screens can be as simple as adding a blood and urine profile to your pet’s annual exam. This helps to identify a variety of metabolic conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, Cushing’s disease and cancer. Most of these screens do come back normal, but if they do not, it allows us to initiate early treatments to improve your pet’s quality of life.
Basic blood work is a great starting point, but it does not test for everything. Advanced senior screening can be performed to further insure your pet’s good health. These tests are recommended at 7, 9, and 11 years of age or prior to a major procedure. Most advanced screening tests include: chest x-rays for lung and heart disease, abdominal x-rays for tumors or urinary stones, and abdominal ultrasound for tumors, gall bladder disease, lymph node enlargement and urinary tract abnormalities. Even though the thought of your pet having a disease even when they act normal is discomforting, an early diagnosis can improve treatment options and prevent or delay clinical illness.