On average our pets age 5 to 8 times faster than people. By 2 years of age, most pets have reached adulthood and by six, many are entering middle age. Generally speaking, the larger the pet the faster it ages in relation to ‘human years’ and so larger breeds are entering their senior years at 7 to 8 years old.
Since pets age so rapidly, important health changes can occur in a relatively short of time, raising the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart and kidney disease to name a few.
Veterinary health care has improved dramatically in the past 5 to 10 years and so today’s pets are living longer than ever. This is a wonderful achievement but it also means that many pets will experience a serious illness during their lifetime. Veterinary medical advances mean that, with early detection, many of these conditions can be well controlled and the pet will carry on leading a happy and active life.
As part of The Pet Doctors mission to give our patients the best care possible, we recognise the value of performing annual health checks to help diagnose and address problems before they become life-threatening. At The Pet Doctors, for an annual health check, your pet will receive a thorough physical examination, starting with an assessment of their general condition, demeanour and gait as you take your them into the consultation room from our waiting area – even before you even realise that we are assessing them! During their examination, we’ll ask you lots of questions so it may pay to give some thought to any issues that concern you about your pet’s health so you can ‘fill in the gaps’ allowing an accurate assessment to be made. Our doctors normally begin by inspecting your pets eyes, ears, nose and face for any discharge or inflammation that might indicate disease. Next we’ll move on to an examination of the mouth that includes the health of the teeth and gums, and a check for growths and swellings in the oral cavity. From there, we’ll listen to your pet’s heart beat – assessing the rhythm and character of the beat and then listen to your pet’s lungs. We’ll check the thyroid glands in the neck as many older cats develop an enlargement of the gland causing Hyperthyroidism. After that, we’ll palpate your pet’s internal abdominal organs – the spleen, the stomach, the liver, bladder and kidneys for any irregularities. We’ll check the skin and coat for health, feel all over for any abnormal growths and check your pet’s musculoskeletal system. During all of this, we’ll ask you if you have noticed in changes in the amount of food eaten, water drunk and frequency of urination as changes in these patterns can be the first sign that an illness is developing. Should we find anything abnormal, we’ll then discuss the findings with you in detail and advise you on the tests required to investigate the condition further.
Call us today to book a health check for your pet with one of our vets.
The most important annual health screenings for dogs:
Adult dogs (1-6 years)
- Parasite check
- Heart check
- Dental health
- Blood test
- Chemistry panel
Additional exams for senior dogs (7+ years)
- Osteoarthritis check
- Chest radiograph
- Thyroid check