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