You always hear that we need yearly checkups and annual exams ourselves as we get into our senior years. They tell us that a checkup every 6 months is best. This is because, statistically speaking, as we age the more likely we will develop health issues. We want to catch these issues early, if we can, in order to hopefully “cure/ fix” the problem.
Guess what, the same is true with your pet. Father time is kind to no one including our four legged family members. It’s just the nature of the beast. The longer a piece of equipment, or body, is in use eventually a problem or malfunction will develop.
It is very consistent that we find problems or negative changes in our pets once middle age sets in. This can be around 7 years of age in most dogs and cats. These pets are the ones that I frequently have to treat and are the ones we frequently hospitalize. These problems range from organ issues (liver, kidney, heart, oral disease ) to masses or lumps that have now grown large and have become a big problem. As our pets age their bodies are not as good at fighting off disease processes or skin mutations that develop into lumps/ bumps which can be cancerous. Simply put, these problems occur more frequently and accelerate as your pet ages. Your pets older body tries to correct these issues on its own but sometimes becomes overwhelmed and cannot.
Therefore, it is best to see pets 7 years or older 2 times a year in order to try and catch and treat these preventative issues. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep in mind that one year can be equivalent to anywhere from 4 to 7 years to your pet depending on their breed. Senior bloodwork can be very helpful in screening your pets organs, red cells and white cells in order to give us a good internal overview. The physical exam allows us to identify potential issues that are just starting and by finding them early, we are able to fix or slow down the negative process. This treatment or slowing down the negative process equates to a better quality of life for your pet. That is the absolute bottom line, “a better quality of life.”
So, if your older pet is due for an exam or has not had one in 6 to 7 months or has not had bloodwork done in over a year it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment. The 50,000 mile check up may be due.
From Crossroads Animal Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I’m Dr Craig Hyden reminding you to care for your pet and consult your vet.