It’s sometimes hard to believe how fast our pets age, especially in relation to people. Dogs and cats that were just puppies and kittens “last week” are now in middle-age. It’s important to understand that diseases that are now starting to affect your pet frequently don’t have any symptoms until the disease is well established and there is less that can be done about it.
Busy lifestyles can make it difficult to notice subtle symptoms of disease, especially discomfort and even pain. The end result is that pets can mask such symptoms as of cancer, gum infections and kidney disease, and you can easily miss an important problem.
Dogs and cats that are 6 years old are equivalent in age to humans that are in their 40s. This is the age at which humans have breast and prostate exams as well as blood pressure and cholesterol checks. Dogs and cats are no different and should have yearly physical exams along with diagnostic tests.
A thorough physical exam by a veterinarian is the first step in assessing your pet’s status. This will dictate what preventive care and any necessary treatment need to be started. Common problems in the middle-age pet usually include dental disease, obesity and arthritis. All of these can progress without manifesting obvious symptoms to you, so it’s important to catch them early.
During this exam, ask your vet to show you how to do an in-home exam to monitor important areas. Here’s a link http://www.lbah.com/word/weekly-health-exam/ for more information on this exam.
After the exam, diagnostic tests should be recommended depending on the breed. Some of the more common tests are as follows:
- Stool-sample check for internal parasites
- Blood sample that monitors red and white blood cells along with internal organs
- Urinalysis to check for kidney and bladder problems
- Thyroid test that checks for low (dogs) and high (cats) levels
- X-ray of the thorax to check the heart and lungs along with an X-ray of the spinal cord and pelvis to check for arthritis
- EKG (electrocardiogram) to check for heart abnormalities
Our website http://www.lbah.com has important disease information to avoid a crisis for your mid-lifers.