by Amanda L Maus DVM
At least once a day, we are discussing senior blood work with a client for their elderly cat. Clients want to know why we should do the lab work. Will “bad” results change anything that they already do for their pet? The answer is yes! When we do blood work for a senior pet, we are looking for conditions that the pet may be hiding or for recently appearing symptoms.
Once we are able to identify certain diseases, we can develop a treatment plan that may include changing the diet and prescribing certain medications. For example, a senior cat may come in for his or her annual exam and we notice that the kitty has lost one or two pounds from the last visit. There are several diseases that can cause weight loss in senior cats such as diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid disease. Let’s say the kitty is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid gland. We are fortunate to have quite a few treatments options ranging from a prescription diet, pills, or radiation therapy. By running some blood tests, we are able with certainty to address the specific cause of the cat’s weight loss and improve that patient’s quality of life!
If we can prevent or slow the progression of a disease, our senior pets are much more comfortable and can enjoy their remaining time with our families that much easier.