Senior Health Checks
Senior health checks are clinical exams specifically targeted at identifying health problems in senior pets before they become life-threatening. Some of the diseases we may encounter in senior pets include heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney disease and Cushings Disease, amongst others.
Depending on the species or breed of your pet, he or she would be regarded as a senior at different ages in human years. Please see the table below as an indication at which age your dog or cat should start having senior checks:
- Cats 7 years old
- Small Breed Dogs 8 years old
- Medium Breed Dogs 8 years old
- Large Breed Dogs 7 years old
- Giant Breed Dogs 6 years old.
Other species have varying lifespans. Speak to your vet about when he/she suggests senior health checks need to be started. For dogs and cats we recommend that these checks be carried out at least once every six months (this is the equivalent of once every 3 years for senior humans!).
What a senior health check involves
The senior health check will involve gaining as much information about your older pet as possible. Some of the questions asked may include:
- Has he/she put on any weight recently?
- What is his/her appetite like these days?
- Have his/her toileting habits changed over the last few months?
- Does he/she drink more or less water than he/she used to?
- Does he/she battle to stand up easily?
- Is he/she reluctant to exercise?
- Does he/she tire easily?
- Have you noticed any coughing? Vomiting? Diarrhoea?
- Has he/she started showing any unusual behaviours?
The rest of the senior health check will involve a physical examination of your pet (see General Health Examinations) as well as any further tests that may be warranted including urine tests, blood tests, x-rays or ultrasound exams. These tests as well as any other procedures will be discussed with you during the consultation.