Animals are masters at hiding illness and pain, so will often look normal on the outside. Unlike humans, they are unable to tell us when something is wrong, or if they are feeling unwell.
By having regular health examinations, including recommended blood tests, most illnesses can be identified in the early stages, with early intervention and treatment preventing the condition from worsening, and for some conditions providing a cure.
This is particularly important for animals over the age of seven (or over five years for large breed dogs).
Many older animals with an underlying illness will go under the radar until they present to the vet clinic with an injury, or when the illness has progressed so far that the animal is now extremely unwell.
For animals that have suffered an injury, we often find these life threatening conditions during pre-anaesthetic checks, by either a clinical examination or pre-anaesthetic blood testing.
The diseases that are most commonly diagnosed in older cats and dogs are often similar to those experienced by humans, and include cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, dental disease, skin disease and behavioural and neurological conditions.
If you think that your dog or cat may be suffering from an illness, please consider if you should leave it be as ‘old age’ or consider getting it checked out. A small amount of time to have these health checks can either save or extend your pets life, as well as ensure that they are not in pain for something that can be easily treated.