How Old Is Your Pet Really?

Waiting one year between wellness exams and screenings isn’t usually a big deal for humans. We age relatively slowly, so it often takes a while for disease processes and ailments to set in and present themselves.

Animals age rather rapidly, though, so a year is a long time when it comes to the health of your pet. Most dogs are considered seniors when they reach seven, cats around nine. Many diseases are more likely to affect your pet once they reach senior status.

At Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic, we recommend that your pets receive exams twice every year, especially when they are over the age of 7 and considered seniors. Regular exams allow us to update your pet’s preventative care and keep a closer eye on how your pet is aging. They also often allow us to detect health issues that are more common in older pets, like diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease, well before they burden your pet with uncomfortable symptoms.

If you do have a senior pet, chances are our veterinarians will talk with you about running “blood work”, also known as a blood screening or blood panel. That’s because just like in humans, the cells and chemicals present in your pet’s blood can give the doctor a wealth of clues about what’s happening in various organs of the body.

Once a blood sample is drawn, we usually request a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and then a chemistry panel specific to your pet’s needs, such as a liver panel, an electrolyte panel, a geriatric panel, or a pre-surgical panel. The CBC is a snapshot of the red and white cells in your pet’s blood and can reveal many conditions, like whether he or she is anemic, dehydrated, or has an active infection. A panel is comprised of several different tests and can give more specific information related to a diagnosis. These panels can also be helpful in determining the possible progression of a disease.

Animals tend to be stoic when it comes to pain and are unable to verbalize their symptoms, so blood work is vital to determining a diagnosis and assessing your pet’s overall health. That’s why during September Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic is offering a Blood Work Special: Take 20% OFF your pet’s senior or geriatric blood panel.

If your pet needs an up-to-date exam or screenings, please call us to schedule an appointment at (713) 999-6095 or schedule your pet’s exam online.