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What to Expect During My Senior Dog’s Checkup?

Regular senior checkups are crucial for maintaining your dog's quality of life and detecting age-related health issues. Our veterinarians in Los Angeles County will review what to expect during your senior dog's checkup and why these appointments are important.

Why Senior Dog Checkups Are Important

As dogs age, they undergo physiological changes similar to humans. Regular senior pet checkups by a veterinarian can help monitor and detect potential health issues early, which can range from arthritis to organ dysfunction. Catching these problems early can greatly improve your dog's quality of life and even extend it.

What's Different About Senior Dog Checkups

Senior dogs require a comprehensive senior screen, typically including 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 gives information about the different types of cells in the blood, including red blood cells that transport oxygen, white blood cells that fight infections and inflammation, and platelets that help blood clot. This test provides 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 set of tests provides crucial information about the organs and tissues of your body and can detect serious disorders such as diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. If minor abnormalities are detected, your veterinarian may recommend repeating the tests after a few days, weeks, or months. However, if the abnormalities are severe, a more detailed diagnostic workup may be necessary, including an expanded biochemistry profile, blood pressure assessment, and imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound. Please refer to the handout "Serum Biochemistry" for more information.

Urinalysis: Urinalysis is a standard test examining a pet's urine's 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. During routine wellness testing, it is important to include urinalysis as part of a urinalysis assessment of 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 see 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 to keep track of 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 its progression in cases where a disease cannot be cured.

What's Involved in the Annual Senior Dog Checkup Checklist 

On top of the wellness screening test, the annual senior dog check-up checklist includes several important aspects to evaluate your furry friend's overall health and well-being. The following 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's important to schedule an annual senior dog check-up to ensure your furry friend is healthy and happy.

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 Los Angeles County today. 

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Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Los Angeles County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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