Senior Pet Wellness

The Importance of a Senior Health Screen

Pets are living longer than ever before thanks to better pet foods, preventative health care, and advances in veterinary medicine. Although senior pets may not have the energy of youth, they still have plenty of love and companionship to offer.

Just like people, as your pet ages, organ function may begin to deteriorate. The purpose of wellness testing is to detect these problems early and institute treatment. In many cases, early treatment may extend the length and quality of a pet’s life.

Maintaining the health of your senior pet also consists of preventative dental care to help avert periodontal disease from affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys. More than 85% of dogs and cats over four years old have some form of periodontal disease, an inflammatory condition in which bacteria attacks the gums, ligament, and bone tissues that surround and support the teeth. These bacteria not only can cause tooth loss, decay, and bad breath, but also can travel through the bloodstream and damage vital organs

Only about 14% of senior animals undergo regular health screening as recommended by their veterinarians.

Providing optimal care for senior pets:
  • Acknowledges and enhances the human-animal bond
  • Promotes early detection of abnormalities
  • Promotes optimal and individualized medical care that may enhance quality of life and promote longevity
The specific goals of this document are to help the veterinarian:
  • Promote early detection of disease in the apparently healthy pet
  • Prevent or delay morbidity and mortality whenever possible
  • Outline/define common clinical conditions in senior pets
  • Define aspects of screening, diagnosis, treatment, anesthesia, and surgery that are pertinent to the senior pet

When Does ‘Senior’ Start?

The senior health screen is recommended for all patients over seven years old for dogs and over eight years old for cats. Pets that are exhibiting signs of illness such as increased thirst, increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, poor hair coat, seizures, or unusual behaviors are encouraged to participate.

Some pets may appear very healthy until problems have progressed to an advanced stage. This program is designed to find these problems before they cause signs of illness.

By participating in the Senior Health Screen, you are taking an active role in the health and well-being of your senior pet. We recommend a semi-annual wellness exam plus every twelve months our professionals will obtain a thorough medical history and review the changes you’ve observed.

Information provided from the American Animal Hospital Association.