Animals age at a much faster rate than humans do. If your pet is only visiting the veterinarian once a year, that is equivalent to 5-7 years of aging! Senior blood work helps us detect if there are any internal changes that are not so obvious to you or to us. Cats and dogs are very stoic in nature, and don’t always let us know when something is going on internally. Since they can’t tell us how they are feeling, it is important for veterinarians to be able to perform blood work. Geriatric feline patients in particular are prone to a subset of diseases that are detected via senior blood profiles.
Senior blood work profiles, generally includes a complete blood count, a chemistry, and urinalysis. The complete blood count checks the red blood cell count, platelets, and white blood cells. It can indicate whether an animal is anemic, or if there is an underlying infection. It can also help us detect certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma. The chemistry panel measures a variety of parameters. It checks the blood protein levels, liver enzymes, kidney values, pancreatic enzymes, and electrolytes. A urinalysis can aid in diagnosis of kidney disease, urinary tract infections, protein loss in the urine, and bladder or kidney stones.
A lot of the diseases that senior blood work detects for are manageable or treatable, if diagnosed at an early stage. The sooner we detect any changes in your geriatric pet’s internal organs, the better the outcome. It is also always good to have a baseline measurement as to what is normal for your pet.