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What to Expect During My Senior Dog’s Checkup?

Regular senior check-ups are essential for maintaining your dog's quality of life and detecting age-related health issues. Our veterinarians in Ypsilanti will explain what to expect during your senior dog's check-up and why these appointments are important.

Why Senior Dog Checkups Are Important

As dogs age, they experience physiological changes similar to those in humans. Regular checkups with a veterinarian can help monitor and detect potential health issues early. These issues can range from arthritis to organ dysfunction. Catching these problems early can significantly improve your dog's quality of life and even extend it.

What's Different About Senior Dog Checkups

As dogs age, it's important to schedule comprehensive senior screenings for them. These screenings typically include in-house laboratory tests such as blood tests, urine analysis, and imaging like X-rays or ultrasounds.

These wellness screenings evaluate your senior dog's overall health, including organ function, joint health, and early detection of any signs of disease or discomfort. Let's take a closer look at what's involved in these screenings.

There are four main categories of wellness testing for senior dogs:

Complete Blood Count (CBC): The Complete Blood Count (CBC) test provides information about the different types of cells in the blood. It includes red blood cells, which transport oxygen; white blood cells, which fight infections and inflammation; and platelets, which help blood clot. This test offers details about the number, size, and shape of these cells and identifies the presence of any abnormal cells. It is a routine test used in all stages of health and illness. The CBC test can detect many forms of diseases and conditions. For more information, refer to the handout titled "Complete Blood Count."

Biochemistry Profile: This series of tests provides important information about your body's organs and tissues and can identify serious conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. If minor issues are found, your veterinarian may suggest repeating the tests after a few days, weeks, or months. However, if the problems are more serious, a more thorough diagnostic examination may be needed, including a more comprehensive biochemistry profile, blood pressure evaluation, and imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound. For more details, please see the "Serum Biochemistry" handout.

Urinalysis: Urinalysis is a standard test that examines a pet's urine for microscopic and chemical properties. This test provides information about the kidneys' efficiency, detects inflammation and infection in the urinary system, helps identify diabetes, and can be useful in diagnosing cancer within the urinary system. Including urinalysis in routine wellness testing is important for assessing the kidneys and urinary system. It is particularly crucial for senior and geriatric dogs due to the higher occurrence of kidney disease in older dogs. For more information, please refer to the handout "Urinalysis."

Thyroid Test Urinalysis: The thyroid gland is crucial in regulating the entire body's metabolic rate, similar to a thermostat. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid problem found in dogs and is caused by the underproduction of thyroid hormones. It is recommended to test hormone levels regularly in older dogs, especially if they show symptoms such as unexplained weight gain, lack of energy, recurring skin or ear infections, or hair loss on the body and tail. For more information, please see the handout "Thyroid Hormone Testing in Dogs.

Wellness testing is a straightforward and efficient method for monitoring your senior dog's health. Detecting and correcting medical issues early on can ensure your pet remains healthy and energetic for as long as possible. Early medical intervention can often slow the progression of a disease in cases where it cannot be cured.

What's Involved in the Annual Senior Dog Checkup Checklist 

On top of the wellness screening test, the annual check-up checklist for senior dogs includes several important aspects to evaluate your furry friend's overall health and well-being. Here are the key components of the check-up:

  • Physical Examination - The veterinarian will assess your dog's overall health and check for any abnormalities.
  • Dental Examination - This checks for dental issues such as periodontal disease.
  • Joint Assessment - The veterinarian will evaluate your dog for signs of arthritis or mobility issues.
  • Nutrition and Lifestyle Discussion - The veterinarian will discuss your dog's diet, exercise routine, and any necessary adjustments to optimize your senior dog's well-being.

It is essential to schedule an annual check-up for senior dogs to ensure your furry friend's health and happiness.

How Often Should You Bring Your Senior Dog for a Checkup

It is recommended that senior dogs should have a checkup at least once a year. However, your veterinarian may suggest more frequent visits based on your dog's health status and any existing concerns.

Regular checkups enable proactive management of age-related issues and guarantee that your senior dog can enjoy a comfortable and happy life for many years to come.

Senior dog checkups are not just routine appointments. They are essential for maintaining your senior dog's health and happiness. By staying proactive and scheduling regular checkups, you can ensure your beloved companion enjoys their golden years to the fullest.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time to schedule your senior dog's annual checkup? Please book an appointment with our vets in Ypsilanti today. 

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