The Importance of Routine Exams For Cats & Dogs
Preventive care is about maintaining your pet's good health and getting them the care they need to have their best possible chance at a long and healthy life. Preventive care for pets starts with routine wellness exams either annually or twice yearly depending on the needs of your dog or cat.
These routine exams are vet checkups for your beloved four-legged friend.
By bringing your dog or cat to your primary care veterinarian's office, even when they seem perfectly healthy, you give your team of veterinary professionals an opportunity to monitor your pet's health, check for the earliest signs of diseases, and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your dog or cat looking and feeling they're very best.
Catching health issues including parasites, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues early, before obvious symptoms appear, means that treatment can begin early when it is most effective.
How You Should Bring Your Pet to the Vet for a Routine Exam
Annual checkups at your primary care vet's office are reccomended for most dogs and cats. However, each pet is different and has different needs - especially as they get older. This is why the frequency of your pet's checkups will depend on the age and medical history of your dog or cat.
Puppies and kittens can be susceptible to health conditions that are easily resisted by adult pets. This is also true for senior or geriatric pets. You should bring your puppy/kitten in for a checkup much more frequently to give them the very best start in life, (every month for puppies and kittens under a year old). For geriatric cats and dogs, twice a year or more (if required) is recommended.
What To Expect At Your Pet's Checkup
When you bring your cat or dog to your primary care vet's office for a checkup, they will review your pet's medical history and ask if you have any specific concerns.
Sometimes, your vet will ask you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order to conduct a fecal exam. They will take that sample and examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites which would be very difficult to detect otherwise.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Checking your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Looking at your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Feeling your pet's body (palpating) for any clues of illness like swelling, or signs of lameness (limited range of motion, pain, etc)
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Assessing your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
All of these tests are meant to detect signs of any health problems your pet may be experiencing. Because dogs and cats can't tell us when they are in pain or uncomfortable, these tests and checks can help determine how your animal is generally feeling.
Your Pet's Vaccinations
Vaccines are designed to protect your dog or cat against common, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. The vaccines recommended for your dog or cat will be based on where you live and your pet's lifestyle.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals.
Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots' on a regular basis in order to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases, boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your primary care vet will be sure to let you know when your dog or cat needs their booster shots.
Does my pet really need parasite prevention?
Parasites are a real health threat to the health of pets in Englewood. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can enter your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, this is why your primary care veterinarian will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your four-legged friend. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!
Parasite prevention can help protect your furry companion from these conditions:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
The Cost of Your Pet's Preventive Care
Compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders, or diseases, (especially heartworm) regularly scheduled wellness exams will save you money.
Not only that, but they will make sure your pet experiences a minimal amount of discomfort or pain from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.