By Dre Éloïse Thibault

Our aging animals are considered old, or geriatric, when they have reached 7 years and they require greater attention. In fact, they are more susceptible to organ failures as well as several diseases.

An annual exam by your veterinarian allows the early detection of several health problems. This favors an optimal care of the condition resulting in a best possible quality of life and life expectancy.

During the consultation, your veterinarian will look for information concerning their level of energy, their habits, changes in sight and hearing, food and water consumption as well as urination and defecation. Those questions will direct the physical exam and the diagnostics tests that follow.  

The physical exam aims to detect anomalies associated with some conditions, especially the ones that are more frequent with aging.  For example, the hydration level, the body score and kidney palpation are evaluated in order to detect renal insufficiency and a particular attention is provided to hair quality, body silhouette and the shape of the thyroid gland so as to determine the possibility of a thyroid dysfunction. Arthrosis is suspected if lameness is observed during the examination of the gait as well as pain and cracking of the joints during manipulation. Another example is the eye exam to evaluate vision as well as the health of the lens which provides information regarding cataracts.

Following the physical exam, the veterinarian will be able to determine if vaccinating your pet is safe. Some people may not know this, but vaccinations in older animals becomes more important as their immune system is less capable of fulfilling its function.

In the end, all the information established by performing a thorough exam will give a clearer picture of your pet’s state of health. Depending on the findings, more specific diagnostics tests may be required.

For healthy aging animals, come meet our veterinarians. Contact us at 450-671-7264.