When your pet is past his prime, make sure you to pencil in regular trips to the vet to ensure that your pooch is still in top fighting form. This is more important if you think your pet is sick--the earlier the doctor assesses his condition and prescribes a treatment, the better the outcome can be. Luckily, there are several veterinary clinics around the country that have developed special preventive care measures for older animals called geriatric or senior care programs. These usually entail running a combination of diagnostic exams on your pet to see if anything is amiss. Dr. Menandro C. Valerio, a Fellow in Canine Medicine of the Philippine College of Canine Practitioners, gives us what we should expect from five of the most common exams performed. Keep reading to find out what they are.

1. BLOOD TESTS
There are several common tests that can be included in a complete blood count. A chemistry panel, which will evaluate six to 12 of the blood’s components, is generally performed. These tests can help identify a variety of diseases such as diabetes mellitus, kidney, liver, and hormonal diseases. The number of tests and how often they will be performed will depend upon the age and health status of your pet.

2. URINALYSIS
If you have noticed any changes in your pet’s urine or if your pet is having trouble urinating, you should consider having this test performed as soon as possible.

3. FECAL EXAM
A fecal exam should be performed on your pooch regularly to identify any intestinal parasites that may be present in his digestive system.

4. RADIOGRAPHS OR X-RAYS
Radiographs are recommended if your pet has a history of heart, lung, kidney, liver, or gastrointestinal disease.

5. ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (EKGs)
An EKG is a simple, painless test that measures the electrical activity of your pet’s heart. An EKG will be recommended depending on the results of your pet’s age, breed, and medical history.

(Illustration by Sabrina Lajara)

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