Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 1: Radiographs

This Black And White Sunday starts off the first out of a  six part series on Senior Wellness. Since it is Black And White Sunday I start my series with Radiographs. Nellie is a senior at 10 years old. Her annual physical exam and vaccinations were coming due this month. A couple other issues cropped up that I wanted to discuss with the doctor so I compiled my list and brought Nellie with me to work last Monday. To talk about everything she had done and why Senior Wellness is important I broke it down into six parts.

Sunday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 1: Radiographs

Monday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis

Tuesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 3: Bloodwork

Wednesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 4: Cystocentesis

Thursday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 5: Urinalysis

Friday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 6: Pulled Tendon

Where we going mom?

Since I am a Veterinary Technician I am hyper vigilant on noticing things with my animals. I am constantly looking at them, feeling them over and sometimes making myself think there is a problem. For sometime when Nellie lays next to me her belly looks funny. Funny you ask, yup funny my technical term for it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I thought I was seeing. She has been sneaking off and eating deer carcass’s so she has been coming back all bloated and looking like a engorged wood tick. I thought A: she might just be getting fat, B: she is older does she have cushing’s disease, C:  do I see a lump in her belly. All of the above needs addressing hence the car ride with me to work.

Nellie started out with a full physical exam this is important for every animal at least once a year and for seniors it’s a good idea to have a physical exam twice a year as things can change just like that. It’s better to “catch” things earlier than later.

What is a full physical exam? It is a head to tail exam of each part of the animals body.

1. Checking for changes in the eyes.

2. Checking for changes/infections in the ears.

3. Checking teeth for broken teeth/tarter/gingivitis/tumors.

4. Checking lymph nodes below lower jaw, pre scapular, poplitial, ingunial.

5. Checking heart and lungs for murmurs and respiratory problems.

6. Checking abdominal cavity for masses.

7. Checking rectum for masses, temperature, parasites.

8. Checking whole body for any masses and abnormalities.

Nellie’s physical exam went great, she is looking and doing well for a senior pet. Her liver felt slightly larger (which can be normal in older animals) and what about the funny thing I was seeing with her belly?

When I lay on my left side you can see a alien in my belly.

While relaxing over the lunch hour the alien appeared so I had the doctor look and feel it. It was right about where her hair is thin (white) on the picture right in front of her back legs. The doctor thought it was her spleen. The dogs spleen is very long and the “tail” of it can “poke out”. But why is it “poking out”? It could be normal or it could be enlarged because of a mass on it. So to find out you start with abdominal radiographs to see how things look inside.

Right lateral is the most preferred position.

A ventral/dorsal (on the back) is second preferred.

After the two radiographs are taken they are developed so the doctor can read them.

Right lateral

Ventral dorsal view.

There was something suspicious on the right lateral view so we did another radiograph and did a left lateral this time to see if they could see the same thing.

left lateral

The suspicious area wasn’t on the left lateral so not to much of a concern. The radiographs can’t rule out a mass there was nothing obvious so the next step would be a abdominal ultrasound which will be done at a later date.

Nellie’s liver wasn’t a concern either after looking at the radiographs.

She was such a good patient for her radiographs, she didn’t move a muscle. Nellie did receive her annual vaccinations this day as there were no concerns not to give them.

Stop back tomorrow for: Monday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis


We are joining Dachshund Nola & Sugar The Golden Retriever for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop.

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16 thoughts on “Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 1: Radiographs

  1. I hope there is really nothing to worry when you do the ultrasound. It was great to learn about examinations, I’m a crazy hen at that front. I always think there could be “something” when I check Easy, fortunately all the things I found were dirt… except one thing what was a lump of an ole bubble gum :o)


  2. OK, you are going to make me have to ask? Why annual vaccinations? (Well, unless rabies is required every year in your state) Isn’t the protocol now every 3 years?


    • You are correct, DHPP (distemper combo) has been approved for every three years. I do that every three years along with Rabies. The lepto part in the distemper combo is still just a yearly vaccine along with lyme and bordetella so those I give them yearly.


  3. It is so cool that you are a vet tech. I have always wished that I had gone into the veterinary field. I’m too big of a wimp for it. We are currently trying to figure out why Bentley spins in a circle. We have checked anal glands, changed food and the vet gave us some drops to put on him. It is driving me CRAZY!!!


  4. This is great, and I look forward to the whole series. Since we have two seniors now, I want to know the things that my vet should be checking. I’m not sure he’s quite as thorough as what you listed.


  5. Thanks for letting us take a peak inside your work world ~I hope the ultrasound will come back clear! We’ve become a little familiarized with X-rays, ultrasounds, as well as CT-scans when our girl Missy was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last October.


  6. Hoping there is nothing of concern.we have a lot seniors here! including us:) and I must say our vet is better than the drs I see! A great post and good to show the things we need to keep an eye on 🙂 hugs Fozziemum xx


  7. Mica get a good all over massage every few days to feel for anything different and to check if she has any spots that hurt her. With all that long double coat you really can’t see any changes. Hope Nellie’s ultrasound doesn’t show anything bad and that all is well.


  8. Hi Y’all!

    Did you have to remind my Human that she needs to make an appointment for me to get one of my shots and the heart worm check?

    Glad no masses Nellie. Maybe your Mom is just a “nervous Ne…” no I won’t say it.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


  9. She’s very good to lie there for that x-ray. Sampson is a good boy too, very patient. I think Delilah would be if I was with her, but not sure how she is. Typically she is sedated for x-rays, but why I do not know. I hope Nellie is okay.


  10. Pingback: What’s In Nellie’s Belly~Mischief Monday | Sand Spring Chesapeakes

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