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Oh My, Has a Year Gone By?
Monday, August 13, 2018
  By: Kingsdale Animal Hospital  In: Pet Health

Oh My, Has a Year Gone By?

Remember the saying that 7 human years are equivalent to one dog year? 

It is known that dogs and cats age more rapidly than humans. The exact number of human years equivalent to one dog year depends on the breed and size of the dog. Smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds of dog and cats tend to live longer than dogs on average. Given this more rapid aging, it is very important for your dog or cat to have a complete physical exam every year! During your pet's annual physical exam the doctor checks them over from nose to tail, looking in their eyes, ears, and mouth, inspecting their teeth, listening to their heart and lungs, palpating their abdomen, inspecting their skin, and feeling their bone and joints. They check their weight, temperature, pulse, and breathing rate. Looking at your pet's eyes they can see early changes of cataracts, inflammation, or degeneration. In their mouth they are looking for painful, infected, or disease teeth and gums. Listening to the heart and lungs can reveal heart murmurs, arrhythmias, crackles, or wheezes. They palpate the abdomen to assess the size of the internal organs, if there are any enlargements or masses, or if there is abdominal pain. Inspecting the skin can reveal signs of infection, allergies, inflammation, or masses. They feel their bones and joints to assess if there are early changes of arthritis or degenerative joint disease. The doctor inquires about changes to their appetite, drinking habits, bathroom habits, energy levels, and various age-related and breed-related questions. The doctor will also discuss and administer any vaccines that your pet may be due for.
During a physical exam for younger pets, commonly discussed topics are dental health and weight management. During a physical for older pets, arthritis, dental disease, liver and kidney health are commonly discussed topics. Many pet owners attribute changes in their pets' behaviour to "slowing down with age". However, these changes can also be because of underlying medical issues including arthritis and kidney disease. Annual bloodwork is also recommended, especially in older pets. We have various profiles that look into your pet's organ function, including their liver, kidneys, thyroid, and immune system.
Our pets have very strong natural instinct to hide signs of disease because showing signs of weakness in the wild makes them vulnerable to predators. Annual physical exams and bloodwork can pick up on the subtle changes to your pets internal organs. If disease is detected and addressed earlier on, it leads to a healthier outcome and happier pet.
The main goal of your veterinarian is to help your pet lead a long, healthy, and happy life. When we diagnose and treat medical issues earlier on, we help your pet live a longer and healthier life. The best way to help out is to bring your pet in for an an annual physical exam!

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