Dogs,  Cats

Senior pets – why is annual checkup so important

As our beloved pets enter their golden years, their health needs become more complex and nuanced. The good news? Advances in veterinary medicine, nutrition, and care have significantly extended the lifespans of our furry friends.

Today, it’s not uncommon to meet a 15-year-old dog or a 16-year-old cat 🥰 Yet, with age comes the inevitable: a higher risk of age-related health issues, much like in humans.

This makes regular annual geriatric checkups not just beneficial but essential.

So let’s talk about why you should take your pet to vet 🙂

While I am a veterinarian, this article is not intended to replace professional veterinary advice. If you have any medical concerns about your pet, consult your vet immediately. Always seek professional assistance if you are unsure of your pet’s health.

old dog looking to the side

The what and why of geriatric assessments

Imagine a comprehensive health evaluation that examines your senior pet from nose to tail. This includes palpating their body, checking their heart and lungs, measuring their temperature, and conducting essential blood and urine tests. These assessments are preventive by nature, aimed at identifying potential health issues before they become evident through symptoms.

It’s a crucial step in catching diseases early, which can not only extend your pet’s life by years but also improve its quality.

Surprisingly, even a pet that appears perfectly healthy can have underlying conditions that only bloodwork and analysis can reveal. So it’s really important to check the animal regularly and not waiting until your pet seems unwell.

Regarding the frequency, I would recommend making an appointment at least once a year. Remember, in many cases, early detection of the disease can prolong your pet’s life by several years 🙂

senior cat sleeping

How can an annual geriatric assessment save you money

You might wonder how spending on preventive care could possibly save you money. The answer lies in early detection and intervention. Many veterinary clinics offer geriatric checkups as part of a cost-effective package, though we vets might not always be the best at promoting these deals. So, a friendly reminder: just ask us! ☺️

Let me give you one of the many examples of why you should take your senior pet to vet regularly:

Consider chronic kidney disease (CKD). Catching CKD in its early stages – before your pet shows any outward symptoms – can mean a simple switch to a renal diet might be all that’s needed to manage the condition. Contrast this with the scenario where CKD goes unnoticed until acute renal failure sets in, necessitating emergency medical intervention and possibly hospitalization. Early detection not only saves significant costs but also spares your pet (and you) from unnecessary stress and suffering.

This principle applies across the board—be it heart disease, liver issues, or any other age-related condition. The earlier we catch a problem, the better the outcome for your pet and your wallet.

What if the tests come back negative?

Some pet owners might view preventive checkups that yield “negative” results (meaning no problems were found) as unnecessary expenses – “But you found nothing, so why did we have to do it?”.

But try to think of it this way, your doctor tells you that you should see an oncologist. The doctor did several tests and now you are waiting for the results. How are you feeling? Aren’t you just hoping that the results will be good? And how are these results different? Why do we think that a negative test result is in this case a blessing and not a waste of money? After all, a lot of serious problems can be found during a preventive checkup, especially in older animals. So why not just be happy that your pet is still fit despite its age?

Believe me, negative results in a senior animal are a big cause for celebration 🙂

Preventive health care is paramount for senior pets. Regular checkups can uncover hidden issues early, allowing for timely and often less invasive treatment options. These visits are an opportunity to ensure your pet’s health is monitored closely and any concerns are addressed promptly.

And if they don’t find anything? Congratulation, your senior darling is not in pain, doesn’t have any health problems, and is enjoying an awesome life  🙂

Remember, the goal of these checkups isn’t to find something wrong; it’s to confirm everything is right. If your vet doesn’t find any issues, it means your senior pet is thriving, free from pain, and enjoying a high quality of life. That’s an outcome we all hope for.

So, make that appointment. Embrace the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re doing everything possible to ensure your senior pet enjoys their twilight years to the fullest. After all, they’ve given us their best years—it’s only right we do the same for them.

Let’s celebrate each clean bill of health as the victory it truly is, and here’s to many more healthy, happy years with our senior companions! 🐾

Happy pet parenting! ❣️

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