At Thornton Animal Hospital, we understand that animals age at a much quicker rate than humans because their projected life span is much shorter. A geriatric or “senior” pet (seven years of age or older), may be more prone to serious health problems such as liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, anemia, infection, Cushing’s disease, thyroid disease, pancreatic disease, protein loss, certain types of cancer and long-term effects on the body from certain medications.
We know what an important part of the family your pet has become over the years, and we will make every effort to prevent or detect early problems before they occur. As part of comprehensive senior care, we suggest annual blood work to give us a more complete picture of the overall health of your pet. This blood work allows us to screen for common physical conditions and abnormalities that can affect pets as they age that cannot and/or may not be evident on physical examination of your pet. These tests include blood cell counts and analysis, and clinical chemistries that help assess organ function and your pet’s general health. The type of blood test is specific to your pet’s stage of life. If no abnormalities are detected, blood work has proven to be a useful tool for doctors, establishing a “baseline” for comparison of normal values if your pet does develop a disease or illness in the future.
At least 20% of the bloodwork we do in senior aged pets reveal abnormalities. The key to a longer healthier quality of life for your aging pet is early detection and/or early intervention in therapy for these disease related conditions. Our doctors firmly believe in a good physical examination externally as well as internally for your pet.
As your pet ages, these signs might also indicate a change in health:
• Loss or increase of appetite
• Sudden weight loss
• Changes in gait
• Difficulty moving
• Excessive sleeping
• Tumors or masses
Should you notice any of these symptoms, please bring your pet in to be examined by one of our doctors. Many problems that senior patients experience can be prevented through early detection or early treatment and most existing problems can be helped through medications and change of diet. Our goal is to keep your pet healthy as long as possible and to improve the quality of his or her life.