More Frequent Health Exams
As humans get older, they are urged by their physicians to have more and more diagnostic procedures, such as colonoscopies and stress tests to find and treat any problems before they progress. You have to be the health advocate for your Yorkshire terrier. Your veterinarian might recommend twice-annual visits. If he doesn't, you should schedule them yourself.
While you want more frequent examinations, you should also want less frequent vaccinations. If you've been having them done annually, you might consider changing to every three years. Some people stop vaccinations altogether once the dog becomes a senior. Dogs seem to become more reactive to the vaccinations as they age, so the vaccinations are not entirely benign. Ongoing research is showing vaccination effectiveness continues for several years — one manufacturer announced full antibody response four years beyond vaccination.
As your Yorkie ages, you will be seeing more of your veterinarian, not less. Those twice-yearly visits might include a few more tests than in previous years. Your veterinarian will probably want to do blood work, first to establish a baseline, and then to check that nothing has changed. The blood work results can reveal any infection and check on the functioning of many of the internal organs.
Your veterinarian will also perform a physical examination. This can locate dental problems, any new or changed lumps, skin problems, and joints developing arthritis. Special veterinary diets, a wide variety of prescription drugs, and ever-more sophisticated surgery can help with many of the problems of aging.