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It’s Senior Wellness Month!

By February 26, 2024 No Comments

Did you know your pet is considered a “senior” as early as the age of 7?  Their bodies undergo changes at a much faster rate so older pets need some extra attention to monitor for any concerns.  

What is Senior Wellness Testing?

Wellness testing is the term given to a group of tests that is performed specifically to detect signs of early disease in a pet that is apparently healthy. Pets cannot tell you how they are feeling, and as a result, disease may be present before your are aware of it! If a disease or condition can be found before a pet shows signs of illness, we can often take steps needed to manage or correct the problem before irreparable damage is done.

When is Wellness Testing Usually Done?

We recommend twice a year physicals exams for our older patients with labwork being done at least once a year.  Senior care for your pet should begin at 7 years of age but may be recommended earlier depending on any specific health concerns.

What is involved in wellness testing?

There are four main categories of wellness testing for senior dogs: complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and thyroid hormone testing.  If minor abnormalities are found on these tests, your veterinarian may suggest that the tests be repeated in a few days, weeks, or months. If the abnormalities are more serious, then a more extensive diagnostic workup may be recommended, including expanded bloodwork panels, ultrasounds, or x-rays.


Complete Blood Count (CBC): This blood test provides information about the different cell types in the blood including: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  These results provide details about the number, size, and shape of the various cell types, and identifies the presence of any abnormal cells. It is a routine test used in all stages of health and illness and can indicate the presence of many forms of disease.

Biochemistry Profile: This is a panel of tests that provides information about the organs and tissues of the body and helps to detect diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and other disorders.

Urinalysis: Urine testing reports the microscopic and chemical properties of a pet’s urine. This will help tell us how well the kidneys are working and if there is any inflammation or infection.  It can also help to detect diseases like diabetes and some cancers.  It is particularly important for senior and geriatric dogs because of the greater occurrence of kidney disease in older dogs.

Thyroid Testing: The thyroid gland acts like a thermostat and sets the metabolic rate of the whole body. The most common thyroid disease in dogs is hypothyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. Hormone levels should be tested routinely in older dogs, especially if there is unexplained weight gain, lack of energy, recurring skin or ear infections, or hair loss on the body and tail.


Other things we’ll check at senior pet visits:

While your senior pet is in for their visit we will also discuss:
 – Weight management: senior pets may be less active and may need to adjust their calorie intake to maintain a healthy weight
– Mobility issues: this can include things like arthritis and joint issues that may slow your pet down or cause pain
– Dental issues: proper dental care is important as it can lead to issues with the heart, kidneys, and liver

Overall, wellness testing is a simple and effective way of monitoring your older dog’s health. Early detection and correction of medical problems help to ensure that your pet will be healthy and active for as long as possible! 

March is Senior Pet Month!  Save 10% on preventative labwork for pets 7 years or older.

Call or text us to schedule your pet’s physical exam (856-740-3700)

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