SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 16 Like humans, animals gothrough different life stages, and their needs will change as they age. Frombeing a puppy or kitten through a juvenile to adult, each phase of an animal'slife requires regular veterinary check-ups and consultations regardingvaccinations, nutrition and exercise.
According to the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), youngerand otherwise healthy animals should get a veterinary exam at a minimum everyyear. Most dogs and cats are considered senior at seven years of age. Forsenior pets, exams are recommended more frequently to catch early signs ofmedical problems. However, individual animal needs are different, so youshould consult with your veterinarian to learn what schedule is best for yourpet.
"Animals age more rapidly than humans, especially large breed dogs," saidCVMA President Dr. Bill Grant II. "One year to a human can be as many asseven years biologically for a pet. Due to this relatively rapid aging,postponing a veterinary visit for just a couple of months could be the humanequivalent of delaying a potentially life-saving test for years."
A slight change in appetite or activity may be the first sign of whatcould become a serious health issue for an aging pet. Some owners are unawarethat their pet's changing condition may be a symptom of a treatable medicalcondition rather than related to old age.
The following tests are recommended for older pets:
-- Complete blood count to diagnose anemia, inflammation, infections andblood disorders.
-- Urinalysis to diagnose urinary tract infections, diabetes and kidneydisease.
-- Blood-chemistry panel to evaluate kidney, pancreas, liver and thyroidfunctions.
-- Parasite evaluation for roundworms, tapeworms, heartworms, fleas andticks.
With frequent, regular exams, your veterinarian may be able to detect andtreat diseases early on, and sometimes prevent them, as well as suggestlife-stage-appropriate changes in your pet's needs.
The California Veterinary Medical Association is the largest stateveterinary medical association in the United States, with more than 6,200members. For more information, visit http://www.cvma.net.
SOURCE California Veterinary Medical Association