Just as we age, so do our pets. When you consider that your pet ages about 5-7 years for every human year, it is not surprising that they encounter geriatric problems sooner than we do.
Yearly, or in some cases twice yearly, exams become very important as your pet ages. Since they cannot communicate to you when they are not feeling well, and because most geriatric diseases are insidious in onset, regular check ups are often the only way to detect problems.
As part of senior exams, lab tests are often recommended to help us to detect certain diseases in the early stages when they are more effectively treatable. This may involve blood or urine tests depending on the particular circumstance. Recommendations will be made based on the results of the physical exam or merely to screen for some common geriatric conditions.
Newer medications become available often that allow us to treat more disease conditions and provide your pet with a comfortable life in the senior years.