Q: What is a “Geriatric Blood Panel” and when should a dog have one? What are the benefits?
A: This is a very simplified answer so please speak with your vet further about this topic, but in a nutshell:
A geriatric blood panel is a blood test that will show your vet and owner what’s going on inside your dog body. As we dogs mature, our vital organs like liver, pancreas, kidneys, spleen and bladder don’t run quite as efficiently as they used to. This blood panel will show where our enzyme levels, blood count, etc. are and your vet will be able to compare them to “normal” levels which will give him a heads up to the potential for diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, pancreatitis, etc. before we may show physical signs.
Because dogs don’t show pain the way humans do (we are very stoic), by the time our parents realize there is a problem and rush us to the vet it is often too late to do anything to save us.
Basically a geriatric blood panel is a preventative tool and will help you catch illness in a dog, hopefully before it becomes a disease too advanced to treat. Think of it as preventative medicine and money very well spent.
Your vet can explain this blood panel in more detail and will recommend when your owner should start running a yearly blood panel on you. It depends on size and breed of dog, as we all age differently, but my mom has run a yearly geriatric blood panel on me, from the time I turned seven years old. I am now a pretty healthy 15 ½ year old gal, and I have to tell you that, over the years, this blood panel has helped my mom find problems with my liver and pancreas that might have manifested themselves and cut short my pampered life. An ounce of prevention and all that love sure doesn’t hurt!