Dogs and cats need regular wellness checks to protect their health. Unfortunately, pets can’t use words to tell you when something is wrong. Of course, many health problems have noticeable signs, but some have no outward indications at all and a number have subtle symptoms only a trained eye is likely to spot.
Timely checkups provide opportunities for your veterinarian to make determinations about your pet’s health. Checkups help maintain your pet’s wellness and quality of life, prevent health problems, and catch disease early for more successful treatment. In addition, wellness checkups will likely save owners time and money in the long run because diseases are usually easier to treat when caught in their early stages.
How Often Should My Pet Go for a Wellness Check?
How exactly do you define “regular” checkups? At a minimum, healthy pets should undergo a complete checkup once per year. Pets living with an illness should generally have biannual wellness checks, or more if your veterinarian advises. As pets enter their senior years, they require two or more veterinary visits per year.
Remember, one human year is physically the equivalent of five to seven years for cats and dogs. Though we don’t generally notice the effects of a single year in humans, a lot can change for animals in this short time. Skipping just one annual wellness check can seriously compromise your pet’s health.
How Do I Prepare for a Wellness Check?
At the appointment, your veterinarian asks about your pet’s habits and behavior, as well as anything you’ve observed that concerns you. To ensure you cover everything, jot down a list of points to discuss during your visit. Preparation makes the checkup run more efficiently and prevents you from forgetting anything that may be important.
Note any changes in your pet’s mood or behavior. Watch for and mention changes to appetite, sleep patterns, urination or defecation, willingness or ability to exercise, socialization, or other aspects of daily living. Variations from the norm are often signs that something is wrong. Mention symptoms such as coughing, excessive salivation, vomiting, repeated scratching, head shaking, or other potential indications of a problem.
What Does the Veterinarian Do at a Wellness Check?
Your veterinarian covers a lot of ground during a wellness check. Your pet’s vital statistics are measured and she will undergo a thorough physical examination. Your veterinarian will look closely at your pet’s eyes, ears, mouth, skin, and coat. These areas offer telling clues about a cat or dog’s overall health. Your pet’s joints are also checked and her abdomen is felt for abnormalities and enlarged organs.
The veterinarian will also go over your pet from head to toe searching for lumps, bumps, discoloration, bald spots, parasites and bites, enlarged lymph nodes, infections, allergic conditions, and other irregularities and clinical signs of health concerns. Your veterinarian will also check your pet’s muscle tone, reproductive organs, and respiration.
Your pet’s regular wellness checks provide opportunities for further health care. The veterinarian administers vaccination updates, and many perform blood tests and urinalysis as a matter of routine. Any additional tests warranted by causes for concern are performed. Your veterinarian can then make updated recommendations for parasite control, diet and exercise, dental hygiene, and other aspects of daily pet care. You’ll also receive instructions for managing any health conditions or concerns.
This helpful information was provided by VetDepot.com, an online retailer of discount supplies.