Ageing pets begin to start to slow down, put on a little weight or become reluctant to go out as often as they used to. These changes make us realise how strong our bond is with our pet. At Valley Farm, we know that pets are friends, part of the family.
There are many things that can be done to help your pets stay healthy and live longer. Some of these measures start early in life, such as good quality nutrition, sensible exercise, regular vaccinations and health checks.
As your pet starts to age you need to think more about its health care. Older pets require more frequent check-ups and observation for changes in behaviour and physical appearance that could indicate disease.
Dogs from the age of seven and cats from about nine years are considered senior with regard to feeding and healthcare. As they age, their body systems start to show the effects of a lifetime’s wear and tear and their immunity drops – just like us. It is said that every dog year is equivalent to 7 human years, so your 7-year-old dog is 49 – not old but ageing.
Your relationship with your pet is very special and as a pet gets older it needs you more than ever. You are the person that knows your pet better than anyone and you will be able to detect small changes that may indicate that all is not well.
As part of our commitment to you and your pets, we offer Senior Pet Clinics. These clinics are aimed at pets from seven years of age. They are excellent value for money, with a 20% discount off the consultation fee, blood and urine tests.
During a consultation with a veterinarian, you will have the opportunity to discuss any health concerns that you have. The doctor will perform a full clinical examination and take a urine and blood sample for testing. A thorough examination, including a heart examination, can help us catch problems early so that we can cure or slow down the progression of disease. As they say, prevention is better than cure!
We will run the following tests
Full blood count
This is a complete panel of tests that allow us to look at and count the blood cells. These tests can pick up abnormalities such as reduced immunity, inflammation, leukaemia and anaemia, essentially checking the blood cell quantity and quality.
This is produced in the liver. High levels indicate decreased kidney excretion or intestinal haemorrhage. This is one of the tests to detect renal disease.
This is excreted from the body by the kidneys and high levels can indicate kidney disease or urinary obstruction. It can also be elevated in dehydration. We also use Creatinine to stage renal failure, i.e. to indicate how severe the disease is.
This is an enzyme that is found throughout the body. Liver, kidney, gastrointestinal tract and blood abnormalities may cause a raised AlkP. Prolonged steroid use or Cushings may also cause it to rise.
Acute (sudden onset) liver disease elevates the level within the blood.
As we all know the level of this is high in diabetes. Low levels can be due to liver disease, infection and some types of cancer.
Urine contains by-products of many of the body’s processes. By analysing it we can get a basic overview of how the body is functioning, especially the kidneys and lower urinary tract.
Depending on the results of the clinical examination and the lab tests the doctor may have other recommendations for your pet. These may include further tests, x-rays, sonar examination, dental work, or an operation. The doctor may recommend an altered lifestyle that may include diet change, exercise change or medication. These would all play an important part in increasing your pet’s life expectancy.
If your pet is seven years or older, take a few seconds to look at the quiz. If you can tick one or more items then your pet could benefit from a Senior Pet Consultation. The consultations and tests, which are run here in our laboratory, take about 30 – 40 minutes.
Golden oldie pets that are already suffering from one or more age-related problems should have a check-up twice a year. At these check-ups the progress of any disease or condition can be checked, medication use can be assessed and prophylactic treatments such as vaccinations given.
Call us now on 012 991 3573 to book your pet’s senior checkup.