When we bring that cute little puppy or kitten home, it’s hard to fathom that they will eventually turn into adults and then into seniors. Watching our pets grow older is inevitable but is still one of the harder parts of being a pet parent. As our pets age, there are changes that we as pet owners can watch out for as well as measures that we can take to monitor for changes in their health. While there is no way to prevent our pets from aging, we can keep them happy and healthy for as long as possible by monitoring for changes and by getting them regular check-ups and lab work.
One important thing to watch for in our pets is the presence of any new lumps or bumps that may emerge. These may pop up even in young pets but become more common as our pets age. Any time a pet develops a new mass, it is wise to get it evaluated by your veterinarian. In many cases, we will recommend something called a needle aspirate or cytology. This is where we poke the mass with a needle, place the cells on a microscope slide, stain the slide, and look under the microscope to try and determine whether the growth is benign or malignant. In some cases, we may recommend surgical excision and biopsy-based on our cytology results. In other cases, we may recommend monitoring the mass closely for any changes. In any case, you will want to have any new lumps checked out and documented.
As your pet ages, it is also important to watch for any changes in water intake, urination, appetite, and general behavior. If you notice any major changes with your pet, we recommend getting a thorough check-up performed. We will likely recommend a bloodwork panel to screen for problems on the inside that may not be apparent on a physical exam. Cats are especially good at hiding disease, so bloodwork can often lead us to detect things earlier than we would otherwise be able to. We also strongly recommend doing annual bloodwork in seemingly healthy pets to establish a baseline and to monitor for any changes as your pet ages. Bloodwork can help screen for diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, anemia, and many other conditions. Many of these conditions can be managed with diet changes or medications and supplements, but it is definitely wise to detect them sooner rather than later.
There is so much that we can do to maintain our senior pet’s quality of life. Please give us a call if you would like to schedule a consultation for your senior pet. We would love to help!
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