Do you ever feel as though your pet’s life is racing by? By the age a human child is starting to walk, a dog is a young adult. At the age a child enters middle school, most dogs are already senior citizens! Cats, in general, live a few years longer, but the pattern is the same.
Pets suffer from many of the same age-related infirmities that we do, such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Managing these conditions, as well as many others, can greatly improve your pet’s quality of life.
How are health problems detected in your pet?
Just as with humans, early detection is the key. We recommend a yearly comprehensive physical examination for pets of all ages. As your pets age, they should have physical exam performed every 6 months, along with a routine health screen (a series of tests run on a small sample of blood and urine) every 6-12 months. These valuable assessments give us an incredible window into the animal’s body, allowing us to ‘see’ many diseases and conditions before symptoms appear.
What is the best age to begin these health assessments?
- Pets of all ages should receive a complete physical examination annually.
- Most larger dogs should be examined every 6 months after they are 7 years of age. Routine health screening should be performed on these pets at least every 12 months.
- Giant breed dogs tend to age more quickly, and should begin at about 6 years of age.
- Smaller dogs and most cats should start this process after the age of 10.
- Medium-sized dogs fall somewhere in the middle of this age range.
- As a general rule, we should think of our pets as ‘seniors at seven.’
My pet seems in excellent health. Why do this now?
Early detection is the key. If in doubt, ask someone who has witnessed their ‘old-acting’ pet return to his former energy and enthusiasm after dental disease or a heart condition was identified and treated. If you are fortunate and your pet’s test results are in the normal range, not only will you have peace of mind, but we have also established a valuable baseline for your pet.
The bottom line?
Regular comprehensive physical examinations and health screens provide us (your veterinarians) with powerful tools to manage emerging health problems in your pet. They provide your pet with the potential for a better quality of life. And they provide you, the pet owner, with the opportunity to have a happier, healthier companion. Everybody wins!
By having these tests performed in conjunction with your pet’s wellness exam, we will reduce the cost for these tests by 20%. This is how strongly we feel about these health screenings.