Pets eight years and older are considered to be seniors. In human terms, a 10-year old dog is between 56 and 78 human years old (depending on weight) and a 10-year old cat is 63 human years old. The doctors at Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic recommend annual blood testing for senior pets because:
- An aging pet’s organs gradually deteriorate and may lose their ability to function properly.
- Your pet seem healthy but many problems common to senior pets (like kidney or heart failure) may not present symptoms until your pet becomes seriously ill.
- Early detection of disease often gives us more effective and less costly treatment options.
- Testing helps establish normal baseline values, creating a point of comparison for the future.
The short story below about a BRVC patient illustrates how annual senior dog and cat blood testing can help save your pet’s life!
Ten-year old Brody is your typical golden retriever – a big furry love bug! Because many goldens develop hypothyroidism and other diseases as they get older, his owner made sure to have his blood tested each year.
Every year, all of the results were completely normal, until last year. Last September, his white blood cell count was more than 96,000 (normal range is 4,000 – 15,000). In addition, 94% of his white blood cells were lymphocytes (normal percentage range is 12-30%).
Additional blood testing was done and Dr. Palmer diagnosed Brody with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). Fortunately, because annual bloodwork was done and the cancer was diagnosed at an early stage, there were treatment options available that could give Brody a good quality of life.
Before being diagnosed with CLL, Brody showed no signs that his white blood cell count was “off the charts”. If Brody’s owner had skipped or postponed last year’s annual senior pet blood testing, there’s a good chance his cancer would have progressed to the point that treatment wasn’t possible. We’re happy to report that Brody was started on oral chemotherapy last fall and, since then, repeated blood tests show his cancer is in remission!