Why is Blood Work Important for an Aging Pet?

by | Mar 18, 2015 | Blog

September is Senior Pet Month at Country Friends Veterinary Clinic. We celebrate senior & geriatric pets all month long with discounts on wellness checkups & bloodwork. Dr. Robin Westwood, an associate veterinarian at CFVC, shares why bloodwork is so important during this stage of your pet’s life.

Cats and Dogs, unfortunately, do not have the long lifespan that humans typically enjoy. Due to the differences, they age quicker than humans. You may use the following charts to estimate their years of age when compared with humans.


As you can see the larger your pet is the quicker they reach their senior years. Due to this difference in aging and because they really cannot tell us when something just doesn’t feel right, yearly blood work, in addition to semi-annual examinations, is extremely important in dogs and cats over the age of 7. Dogs over 100 lbs may need blood work earlier than 7. This blood work can help us detect hidden problems. Early detection can help us reverse, slow, or cure problems before your pet shows significant symptoms or discomfort. Some examples of common problems we encounter with senior pets are kidney insufficiency/failure, low thyroid in dogs, high thyroid in cats, diabetes, and liver disorders just to name a few.

Senior bloodwork also gives us baseline information about the major organs that will help us determine their body’s ability to properly process and eliminate some medications used for chronic problems such as arthritis and heart conditions. It can be used to compare previous or future blood work to determine subtle changes that may have significant consequences in the future.

At Country Friends Veterinary Clinic our senior profiles include:

  1. CBC– This gives us information about the red and white blood cells as well as platelets. A CBC helps detects problems such as anemia, infection, and/or bleeding disorders.
  2. Blood Serum Chemistries – This gives us information about the major organs (liver, kidneys, pancreas), protein levels, and blood sugar. Changes in these values can indicate problems such as diabetes, liver and kidney problems, intestinal problems, and some endocrine problems
  3. Electrolytes – Abnormalities in these can indicate endocrine and kidney problems.
  4. Thyroid (T4) – This baseline can indicate if there is a thyroid dysfunction
  5. Urinalysis– This can give us information about kidney function, infections, liver problems, and diabetes

This blood work can often be combined with an intestinal parasite analysis and heartworm testing to save you money. It may be run in the hospital or sent off to the lab. In both instances, we will have results within 1-3 days. Results can be emailed when requested.

With some extra TLC from you and help from Dr. Robin Westwood and Country Friends Veterinary Clinic you can look forward to many more years with your four-legged senior family members. Please call us if you have any questions.