GIVE THANKS TO YOUR SENIOR PET FOR ALWAYS BEING THERE, BY MAKING SURE THEY ARE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO BE AROUND FOR YEARS TO COME.
Anyone who loves their pet would do just about anything to keep their pet happy and healthy for as long as possible. However, how do you know if your pet is in perfect health? Serious illness or disease isn’t always obvious, especially in the early stages, and unfortunately, our pets can’t tell us how they feel.
As pets reach their golden years, there are a variety of conditions and diseases that they can face, including weight and mobility changes; osteoarthritis; kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; hormone disorders such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance; and many others. Just as the health care needs of humans change as we age, the same applies to pets. It’s critical for pet owners to work closely with their veterinarian to devise a health plan that is best for their senior pet.
SO HOW DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE YOUR PET IS HEALTHY?
The answer is annual physical examinations and diagnostic testing. Diagnostic testing can provide you with a clear picture of your pets overall health by identifying medical issues in the early stages so that your pet can be diagnosed and treated properly. There are many conditions that, if diagnosed early enough, can be completely reversed or controlled for extended periods of time. In addition, assuming that all the tests are normal, it can provide your veterinarian with baseline date for future healthcare needs, and it can give you the most important thing: peace of mind.
1ST TEST=COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT (CBC)
This is the most common blood test performed on pets and people. A CBC gives information on hydration status, anemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability, and the ability of the immune system to respond. This test is recommended as an annual wellness test, and is especially essential for pets with fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, or loss of appetite. If your pet needs surgery, a CBC can potentially help detect some bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities.
HCT (hematocrit)- measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and hydration.
HB and MCHC (hemoglobin) – help determine the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
WBC (white blood cells) - count measure the body’s immune cells. Increases or decreases may indicate certain diseases of infections.
EOS (eosinophils) – are a specific type of WBC that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.
PLT (Platelets) - count measures cells that form blood clots.
2ND TEST= COMPREHENSIVE PROFILE
These common blood serum tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, and more. They are important in evaluating the general health in your pet, and are highly recommended in older pets with vomiting and diarrhea or toxin exposure, pets receiving long-term medications, and the pets health before anesthesia.
ALB (albumin) – is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage, and intestinal, liver, and kidney disease.
ALKP (alkaline phosphatase) - elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease, and in young animals, active bone growth.
ALT (alanine aminotransferase) – is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but doesn’t identify the cause.
AMYL (amylase) - elevations may indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.
BUN (blood urea nitrogen) - indicated kidney function. An increased level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver, and heart disease, urethral obstruction shock and dehydration.
CA (calcium) – deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.
CREA (creatinine) - reveals kidney function. This test helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.
GLOB (globulin) - is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.
GLU (glucose) - is a measurement of blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizure, or coma.
K (potassium) - is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydrations, and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest.
NA (sodium) – is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.
PHOS (phosphorus) - elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders.
TBIL (total bilirubin) - elevations may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.
TP (total protein) – indicated hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidney, and infectious disease.
3RD TEST- THYROID PROFILE
T4 (thyroxine) - is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.
CHOL (cholesterol) – is used to supplement diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes mellitus.