As pets get older, similar to humans, various things start to deteriorate.
Many specific problems do affect different animals and breeds. This can be picked up by a simple examination and often diagnostic testing is required.
The gold standard for pets over the age of 7 is to have a geriatric check up and blood test once every 12 months to ensure we pick up on any changes before they become problematic.
If we have identified any issues, food types can be changed or improved and medication can be perscribed to improve your animals life for the next few years.
Thyroid issues also affect both cat and dog although in opposite directions . Cats become hyperthyroid due to a slow growing growth in their thyroid glands that produces too much thyroid hormone that sends metabolism into hyperdrive so you get a hungry cat but still loosing weight.
Dogs on the other hand get a hypothyroid condition similar to humans where the body attacks the thyroid gland (autoimmune thyroiditis) that results in lethargy, weight gain, skin conditions and may be seen as puffy ankles and face . Both conditions cause heart damage so early intervention is needed. Routine blood tests pick these conditions up easily even before I can see clinical signs .
Cats often suffer kidney damage and failure more so than dogs. When we see kidney damage in the blood test we can say that 75% of the kidneys are damaged beyond repair and we have to manage the remaining 25%. Saying that there are some excellent treatments and food changes that will improve the situation and provide a happy final few years of life.