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The average dog or cat that is 7 to 10 years of age and older qualifies as a "senior." As a pet ages there is a progressive decline in organ function, immunity, and physical and mental abilities. While some age-related diseases may not be preventable, early detection and intervention is the key to successful management. We recommend that senior pets receive a thorough physical examination every 6-12 months.

We also recommend annual blood work (CBC, chemistry profile and thyroid function tests), urinalysis, intraocular pressure testing, and fecal examination. These tests will enable us to detect changes that indicate a disease is present and may allow us to slow or stop its progression.

You should observe your pet and look for changes that may indicate an underlying disease:

  • Change in appetite or weight loss/gain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Urination or defecation in the house 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Increased urine frequency, volume, straining etc.
  • Difficulty rising, walking or climbing stairs
  • Confusion, disorientation, anxiety or changes in sleep patterns
  • Persistent cough
  • New lumps or bumps

It is common to assume these signs are a normal part of the aging process; however, they may indicate underlying disease. If you notice any of these signs, please make an appointment and have your pet evaluated.