Importance of Preventive Screenings for Senior Pets
Sadly, we can all agree that our pets do not live long enough lives. Along with a shorter lifespan—in relation to their human family members—come rapid health changes, particularly in their later years. Although young pets can develop health issues seemingly overnight, it is much more common in senior pets. We can closely monitor their health and spot subtle changes by performing regular early detection screening tests during your senior pet’s preventive care appointments. Here are four common conditions we can more successfully treat in older pets with preventative care.
#1: Osteoarthritis in pets
Although osteoarthritis is commonly associated with senior pets, it can occur in much younger cats and dogs. Through regular screening exams that include a gait evaluation, orthopedic examination, and lifestyle questionnaire, we can determine what course to take to prevent or manage this degenerative joint disease. By proactively preventing osteoarthritis and taking action at the first signs, we can preserve joint cartilage and keep your pet mobile and active.
#2: Dental disease in pets
Almost all pets over age 3 suffer from dental disease, and senior pets often have gingivitis and loose and infected teeth. Oral bacteria from dental disease can travel to the heart and kidneys, causing systemic infection. Frequent oral health exams can help us monitor your senior pet’s dental health and prevent infection and pain.
#3: Cancer in pets
Various types of cancer that affect bones, blood, skin, or organs can be detected through preventive screening tests before signs and the condition have progressed. The more advanced a cancer is, the more difficult it is to treat, especially if it has had a chance to spread to other body parts or organs.
#4: Kidney disease in pets
Many older cats develop kidney disease, although this condition can be difficult to diagnose until roughly three-quarters of kidney function is lost. At that point, blood work changes can be seen; however, a specific kidney function test can be performed on pets to detect earlier changes in the kidneys. Including this test as part of your senior pet’s preventive screenings can help diagnose kidney failure at its earliest—and most treatable—stage.