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I know most of the Maltese here are around a year old, but there are a few of us with older dogs! Here are recommendations from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) about senior health care.

AAHA recommends that dogs and cats at middle age undergo laboratory tests at least annually. During the senior years, laboratory tests are recommended every six months for healthy dogs and cats. At a minimum, the following tests are recommended:


Complete Blood Count
This common test measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a given sample of blood. The numbers and types of these cells give the veterinarian information needed to help diagnose anemia, infections and leukemia. A complete blood count also helps your veterinarian monitor your pet’s response to some treatments.

Urinalysis
Laboratory analysis of urine is a tool used to detect the presence of one or more specific substances that normally do not appear in urine, such as protein, sugar, white blood cells or blood. A measurement of the dilution or concentration of urine is also helpful in diagnosing diseases. Urinalysis can assist the veterinarian in the diagnosis of urinary-tract infections, diabetes, dehydration, kidney problems and many other conditions.

Blood-Chemistry Panel
Blood-chemistry panels measure electrolytes, enzymes and chemical elements such as calcium and phosphorous. This information helps your veterinarian determine how various organs, such as the kidneys, pancreas, and liver, are currently functioning. The results of these tests help your veterinarian formulate an accurate diagnosis, prescribe proper therapy, and monitor the response to treatment. Further testing may be recommended based on the results of these tests.

Parasite Evaluation
Microscopic examination of your pet’s feces can provide information about many different kinds of diseases, such as difficulties with digestion, internal bleeding, and disorders of the pancreas. Most importantly, though, this test confirms the presence of intestinal parasites, such as roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, tapeworm and giardia.

For cats, an additional routine blood test is recommended in order to check for hyperthyroidism, a common ailment in senior cats. Additionally, depending on your individual pet’s condition and other factors, other tests and assessments might be recommended. These include heartworm tests; feline leukemia/feline immunodeficiency virus test in cats; blood pressure evaluation; urine protein evaluation; cultures; imaging such as x-rays, ultrasound, and echocardiography; electrocardiography, and special ophthalmic evaluations, among others. Additional tests become especially important in evaluating senior pets that show signs of sickness or are being prepared for anesthesia and surgery.
 

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Yep, Frosty at almost 14 is getting the full deal every 6 mo., but---I sometimes wonder if we wouldn't enjoy his last years more if we didn't know: He has a #4 heart murmur, his liver enzymes have doubled the last 6 mos., his kidneys are making very dilute urine (not a GOOD thing), he has developed Cushing's, etc., etc.!! There is very little to do about any of those things at his age. All are basically age related and progressive. I would be treating him the same with senior foods, low protein, more supplements, glucosamine in everything, etc. I can see that he needs to sleep a lot and can't walk as far as he used to. It's obvious he's deaf! and his eyesight is failing. The only treatment for Cushing's is the same (with Anipryl) as using Anipryl for the cognitive disfunction of old age. Just possibly a higher dose.

It's discouraging because he isn't "sick" like you can give him an antibiotic and he'll get better. I would spend any amount to make him better!, but the 'better' part isn't going to happen. So I guess I wouldn't do anything different......but in his case without having a treatable disease like diabetes, all this testing and money isn't helping. It's just got me watching and worrying over every little thing every day---because I'm very aware of his problems. I think about that so much it is hard to just enjoy his old age for what it is. Please don't think I'm suggesting not to do the testing! It's just so discouraging to watch and wait at this stage, knowing what is happening.

If I sound like I'm crying on your shoulders, well, guess I am.
All your cute stories about your puppies and "toddlers" keep me going. We laugh and say, 'yeah, I remember that!"
 

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Originally posted by Frosty's Mom@Oct 27 2005, 08:50 PM
Yep, Frosty at almost 14 is getting the full deal every 6 mo., but---I sometimes wonder if we wouldn't enjoy his last years more if we didn't know: He has a #4 heart murmur, his liver enzymes have doubled the last 6 mos., his kidneys are making very dilute urine (not a GOOD thing), he has developed Cushing's, etc., etc.!!  There is very little to do about any of those things at his age. All are basically age related and progressive.  I would be treating him the same with senior foods, low protein, more supplements, glucosamine in everything, etc.  I can see that he needs to sleep a lot and can't walk as far as he used to. It's obvious he's deaf! and his eyesight is failing. The only treatment for Cushing's is the same (with Anipryl) as using Anipryl for the cognitive disfunction of old age. Just possibly a higher dose.

It's discouraging because he isn't "sick" like you can give him an antibiotic and he'll get better. I would spend any amount to make him better!, but the 'better' part isn't going to happen. So I guess I wouldn't do anything different......but in his case without having a treatable disease like diabetes, all this testing and money isn't helping. It's just got me watching and worrying over every little thing every day---because I'm very aware of his problems. I think about that so much it is hard to just enjoy his old age for what it is. Please don't think I'm suggesting not to do the testing! It's just so discouraging to watch and wait at this stage, knowing what is happening.

If I sound like I'm crying on your shoulders, well, guess I am. 
   All your cute stories about your puppies and "toddlers" keep me going.  We laugh and say, 'yeah, I remember that!"
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Oh gosh, I feel so bad for what you're going through but I guess all of us, if our babies live until 14, will be going through that eventually. I say to everyone to enjoy these young years because when they get older, things do start to happen. I went through so much with my first Malt, Rosebud.

Weren't you having issues with Frosty biting a lot? If I'm remembering right on that, did you get that problem under control ?
 

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Re: Frosty's biting........

He hasn't been as bad while on the Anipryl. Although we just had to quit doing anything that pushed that button. We don't pick him up if he complains, which he does unless he asks to be up. I don't bathe and groom him like I use to. I only do what I have to on a daily basis, like clean his face, and bathe him every 3-4 wks. (with muzzle) instead of every week to 10 days. I can't do anything but the most minimal brushing after a bath. I can't use the grooming table or anything that makes it look like grooming time. It has to all be a surprise. So far it hasn't been much of a problem to leave him with his coat as short as it's been since the grooming in July. It will soon be time to go have it cut again. Right now he's off the Anipryl. They are going to do some more Cushing's testing and he had to be off for a time before. It takes a few weeks to get out of his system.

Most of all what really hurts me is that I can't cuddle him and have him on my lap or on the bed anymore. The only way to love him is to get down to his level then I can get close and pet and love him and he will kiss my face. He always sits on DH's lap, but won't let him pet him while there. It's hands off. He stands on DH's lap and stares at me continually when we are watching TV, crying and whinning like something terrible is happening. It breaks my heart that I can't figure out how to help him. Offering all his treats, etc. doesn't help. It is the most pitiful sound I've ever heard and goes on all evening until he gets so tired he finally lies down for a while, then it starts again. I would give my right arm to know what it is he is wanting!


How old was your Rosebud? I'm sorry I don't remember her story. Just that she was your special love.
 

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Frosty's Mom I am so sorry you are going through these diffucult times, my heart goes out to you. I know we are all eventually going to face these very same situations with our little furkids and although it seems so far away for us, time has a habit of moving quickly and before we know we also will be there too.
Frosty is so very lucky to have you to love and understand him the way you do and also to care for him in your own special way. You are one very caring and loving mom.
 
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