January: A Month To Celebrate Seniors!

January: A Month To Celebrate Seniors!

January is our month to Celebrate Seniors!  Through preventative medicine our goal is to help your pet live a longer, healthier life starting at 7 years old.  This is great start to our “Longer Life” wellness program because together we can help your best friend be with you as long as possible.  You know your pet better than anyone else and you can alert us to any changes in your pet before they become serious.  We can help you understand the common medical conditions that your senior pet faces, and discuss a regular monitoring plan.

4 Common Questions About Blood Work and Your Pet

1.       How does blood work help my pet?

Blood testing can frequently detect illness in you pet before we can see any outward signs of disease.  Early detection means earlier prevention and treatment.  Testing healthy pets during wellness visits give us your pet’s normal baseline values to compare to later.

2.       What are the tests you’ll run on my pet?

We’ll routinely perform a complete blood count (CBC) and a complete blood chemistry panel.  The CBC tells us if there is an infection , inflammation, or anemia.  The chemistry panel tells us if your pet’s liver, kidneys, and pancreas are healthy.

3.       Why is it better to have in house blood testing?

In-house blood testing lets you be more involved in your pet’s care, as you and Dr. Fetherston can discuss the results, as soon as the next day.  If the results are normal it allows Dr. Fetherston to rule out certain diseases so you can worry less.  If the results are abnormal, further testing may be required, and a treatment plan will be developed to meet your pet’s individual needs.

4.       What can I do to keep my senior pet happy and healthy?

  • Work closely with us to evaluate your pet’s general health and to monitor the physical effects aging has had on his or her mind and body.
  • Schedule routine check-ups.  We recommend have your pet examined by a veterinarian every 6 months once they are over 7 years of age.
  • Speak up for your pet.  Tell us about any changes you’ve observed, including weight, appetite, elimination, behavior, skin and coat, and mobility.
  • As us about nutrition and exercise and the role they play in your pet’s health.
  • Know your pet’s condition.  Ask us about testing options that can identify health risks before they become evident.
  • Ask for annual screenings for life-threatening diseases.
  • Ask us about the latest advances in veterinary pharmaceuticals.


“Gunner’s Story”

In order to help explain the importance of senior wellness testing we wanted to tell you a personal story about one of our pets who had some recent life changes.   This is Gunner, he is a black Labrador Retriever who just turned 7 years old this past December.  Gunner’s owner noticed that he had started looking a little skinnier than he previously had.  Since he had no other symptoms to cause concern (he was still eating well, having normal bowel moments and urinating like normal) the owner decided to monitor his weight.  In previous years Gunner had a problem with over indulging when it came to food.  He normally weighed 68 lbs and his owner had to work to maintain him at the weight as he was happy to stick his head into a bag of food and eat until his stomach could not fit anything else.  Because of his history of being a typical Lab who loved food it was more cause for concern that he was losing weight.  Over the next two weeks his owner increased his amount of food and monitored his food intake, and elimination.  After two weeks the owner still felt he was losing weight and when he was placed on the scale he only weighed 62 lbs.  That is a 6 lbs weight loss which is 8% of his ideal body weight.  For a human or an animal to lose 8% of their body weight without trying within two weeks time is alarming.  Because Gunner is now a senior and his history with his weight struggle Dr. Fetherston recommended running a CBC and Senior Geriatric Chemistry Profile.  Dr. Fetherston also recommended to check a fecal sample because of Gunner’s outdoor lifestyle.  Some intestinal parasites can cause weight loss and Gunner has access to contracting different intestinal parasites.  A quick little poke in his front leg was all that was needed from Gunner.  His owner also brought in the fecal sample as Dr. Fetherston requested.  Below are Gunner’s blood results:

Luckily Gunner’s blood results were normal.  He had one element of his blood work was slightly lower than normal.  It was not enough to cause concern.  His stool sample was negative.  The good news is that Gunner’s weight loss is not an early indicator of a disease or condition, but instead the result of running and playing with his 1 year old brother Radar.  Gunner also received a complimentary bag of Medical/Royal Canin diet as part of our January promotion to celebrate seniors. 


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