Senior Pets – Part 3 of 3

Dog patient

In our three part series of posts on Senior and geriatric pets we focused on:

Part 1: Describing/defining a senior or geriatric pet

Part 2: Important Conditions and Focus Areas for an aging pet

Now in part 3 of our 3-part series we will focus on Medical Management / Early Detection and Screening

Medical Management / Early Detection and Screening

Although the list of medical conditions can be very long in our older pets, many of them can be managed successfully. We advise our patient’s caregivers to consider a senior health care plan that will target early detection and treatment.

Early detection will allow for prompt, specific care for your pet that will prevent, delay, or temper an illness, extend life span, promote increased quality of life and extend the human-animal bond.  It begins by defining baseline values for your pet as they move into their senior life stage. This will help set the foundation to provide the best preventive and medical care for the years ahead. It continues with frequent evaluation, therapy and monitoring as medical conditions require.

Physical Examinations

A complete and thorough physical examination will help localize and uncover any problems or suspect areas. Initially annual exams are advised, however, increasing the examination frequency to two times a year as your pet ages will increase the chance of detecting a problem early.

We recommend monitoring body weight more frequently, 2-4 times a year. You can come in and use our scale in the waiting area.

Observations and History

Dialogue between our doctors and pet owners in this life stage is exceptionally valuable.

Observations and notations of subtle changes in interactions and day-to-day routines can provide important information and direction for early detection of health issues. Education on what signs to watch for and their significance can heighten detection of early changes.

Laboratory and diagnostic testing

Routine diagnostic tests can give additional depth to your pet’s health evaluation

and can specifically target organ system changes at a significantly earlier time than waiting for abnormal symptoms to present on a physical exam.

These tests may include: complete blood cell counts, serum chemistry panels and a urinalysis. Each pet has a unique set of examination findings and pertinent history which may require more specialized diagnostics that specifically meet their needs.

We understand that the senior/geriatric life stage can be more demanding than the younger adult years. However, by approaching their health care preemptively we can minimize those demands and allow our pets to be happy, active and healthy members of our family for years to come.

It is our pleasure to serve you and your pets. Please do not hesitate to call our offices (708-383-3606) if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your veterinary healthcare team.

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