Did you know that a 7-year old dog or cat is considered to be in
the senior portion of their life stage? With larger breed dogs
this standard is lowered to 5 or 6 years of age. On the outside
your pets may still seem to be in their prime, however this is the
age when subtle changes happen inside the body.
The two organ systems that are most
affected with age are the kidneys and liver. The kidneys and liver
act as filters for the body. They preform this vital role by
ridding the body of toxins and wastes. Years of performing these
duties can result in a decline of function. Build up of waste
products that can't be excreted will cause illness.
When your pet is in his/her senior
years, the veterinarian may recommend doing a general health screen
to check for any age related changes. In a general health screen, a
complete blood count (CBC) and a chemistry panel are preformed. A
CBC will count the number of red and white blood cells, platelets
and alert us to any abnormalities. The chemistry panel checks organ
functions. It will give us a health report for the kidneys, liver,
pancreas, intestines and thyroid gland.
A urinalysis (UA) is recommended
at this time. A UA will look further at how the kidneys are
functioning by the amount of chemicals passed in the urine. It will
also alert us to any problems in the bladder or lower urinary
If a disease process is detected
early, there may be many things that can be done to help support
the patient's system and a treatment course can be implemented. If
there are no marked changes in the health screen that indicate a
specific problem, we can start a preventative program. A
preventative program may include changing the food that you are
feeding or adding a supplement to support your pet's system.
At Care-Pets Animal Hospital, we
believe that early detection is key in preventing and treating age
related diseases. We encourage you to discuss the possibility of
performing a general health screen at your pet's next exam.
Healthy pets are happy pets!!