Let us help your pet age gracefully!
Dogs and cats may not show signs of disease until they are well advanced. As your pet enters his senior years, we recommend screening tests to detect disease processes in the early stages when intervention may be most successful. Some of these include:
- Blood chemistry tests: measures values in the bloodstream that allow us to identify abnormalities of the liver, kidneys, pancreas and other organ systems.
- Complete blood count (CBC): measures red and white blood cell counts; this helps us diagnose anemia, and infections.
- Urinalysis: In addition to screening for a urinary tract infection, a urinalysis can also help detect kidney disease, diabetes, and bladder stones or masses.
- Thyroid screen: This test helps us evaluate your pet’s thyroid hormone, which serves as a measurement of metabolism.
- Tonometry/ Glaucoma screen: If we note that your pets eyes appear reddened or firm on initial physical exam, we may recommend testing your pets eye pressure to monitor for glaucoma.
- Blood pressure measurement: This allows us to check your pet for hypertension.
- Diagnostic Imaging: Radiographs of the chest can help us screen for problems of the heart, lungs, trachea and esophagus. Radiographs of the abdomen will help detect bladder stones, large abdominal masses, and irregular kidneys. Your veterinarian may also recommend an abdominal ultrasound in order to help visualize organs in more detail. For some at risk breeds that are prone to cancer—we may recommend routine screening with abdominal ultrasounds.
- Osteoarthritis Evaluation: Your veterinarian will examine your pets ability to rise, walk and sit as well as perform a thorough exam to detect osteoarthritis in your senior pet. We also request that you fill out the Canine Brief Pain Inventory questionnaire from UPENN to help assess your pets level of pain. At times, radiographs will also been needed. We will then make recommendations for treatment based on a multimodal approach. If you are concerned that your pet may have osteoarthritis, please do not give any over the counter pain medications, as some may not be safe for your pet. We are happy to help with medication recommendations for our patients-- please call 757-523-6100 (Virginia Beach) or 757-482-2181 (Great Bridge)
- Resting/ Sleeping Respiratory Rate Analysis: If your pet has a heart murmur, we recommend monitoring sleeping respiratory rate as a way to detect early signs of heart failure. You can download the instructions/ form here.
- Cytology of Skin Masses : Pets may develop skin tumors as they age. These may be benign or cancerous. If your pet has several masses, please download this form and number the masses as you find them so that we can be sure to test/ document all of them. We can then use this map as a baseline for future exams/ comparisons.
- Behavior Evaluation: Is your senior pet "slowing down" and laying around more? or perhaps he is drinking/ urinating more than usual? Please let us know of any changes at home as these may indicate an underlying health concern. This behavior questionnaire may be helpful for you to bring to your pet's senior wellness visit.
We understand the strong bonds formed through pet ownership. The veterinary staff at Acredale Animal Hospital is committed to helping families enjoy and extend the time they have with their senior pets as long as possible. Unfortunately, there may be times when a disease has progressed to a point where your pet is no longer comfortable. During these difficult times, we can help you evaluate your pet’s quality of life and offer hospice care options.