Health screening is not just for seniors. Screening your young pets establishes baseline values for comparison with future test results. It also detects diseases at early stages.
Dogs and cats are usually considered seniors when they are 7 years old. As your pet enters his senior years, frequent health screenings are recommended to detect age-related diseases at an early stage.
HEALTH SCREENING CAN DETECT DISEASES AT AN EARLY STAGE
Many animals do not display pain or signs of diseases that may have developed. Early detection through health screenings, pain control and treatment can prolong the quality of your pet’s life. Health screening, even when your pet is young and healthy, provides useful “baseline” values for comparison with future test results.
Some common age-related health problems are osteoarthritis, kidney/liver/heart diseases, tumours or cancers, hormonal disorders like diabetes or thyroid imbalance.
SENIOR PETS SHOULD SEE THEIR VETS EVERY 6 MONTHS
Senior pets age more rapidly during their golden years. It is estimated that 6 months of your senior dog’s life is equivalent to 2 to 3 human years. Therefore, your old dog and cat should see the vet every 6 months with a Health Screening done every year.
A routine Health Screening includes:
- Physical Examination
- Complete Blood Count
- Blood Chemistry Panel
- Faecal Analysis
- Thyroid Profile
Depending on your pet’s health, X-rays or ultrasound may be needed to confirm a diagnosis. Especially when there are signs of heart, lung, kidney or liver disease.
TO VACCINATE OR NOT TO VACCINATE
Most pet owners would agree that routine administration of vaccines has been an excellent control for infectious diseases. What may be debatable is (i) the duration of immunity and (ii) how frequent vaccines should be given, especially for senior pets.
As much as we worry about over-vaccination, under-vaccination is also a real concern.
For dogs in Singapore, vaccines for Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper and Canine Adenovirus (Hepatitis) are considered core vaccines. Canine VacciCheck Antibody Test is available at our 9 clinics to measure the amount of antibodies present for these 3 diseases. The test results would help determine if your dog requires additional vaccination.
DENTAL CARE FOR PETS
It is estimated that 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old, which can cause pain and sensitivity in the mouth. Protect your senior pet’s teeth with regular brushing and a thorough dental check-up every 6 months.
some tips for families with blind dogs or cats
- Get down on your hands and knees to see the world from your pets’ level to look out for things that can potentially hurt them, e.g. sharp table edges or drawer handles.
- Keep the floor clear of objects that your blind pets might trip over.
- Try not to rearrange furniture in the house as it would confuse your blind pets & cause them to bump into things.
- Put bells on other dogs or cats in the household so your blind pet knows where they are.
- Keep beds, food and water bowls at the same place every day.
- Place non-slip rugs at certain areas in the house to let your blind pets know where they are.
- Don’t startle your blind pets. Use vocal cues to let them know where you are. Call their name when entering the room and before touching them.
other ways to make life better for our senior pets
- Provide a quiet space with a comfortable but firm bed for arthritic pets.
- Divide a meal into smaller portions throughout the day.
- Provide easy access to litter boxes or garden for elimination (e.g. gently-sloped ramp).
- Raise food and water bowls to a comfortable level.
- Provide non-slip floor surfaces to help your arthritic pet get up and walk more easily.