Routinely scheduled wellness exams help to keep your pet healthy by giving your vet the chance to examine your companion for early signs of disease as well as to monitor your cat or dog's overall health. Here, our Torrance vets share more about why routine exams are important and what you should be able to expect at your pet's annual veterinary checkup.
The Importance of Routine Exams
Your pet's routine wellness exam is a veterinary 'check-up' for your furry friend. These dog checkups or cat checkups take place once or twice a year while your pet appears to be perfectly healthy.
Regularly scheduled exams are an excellent way for you to help your pet to achieve their optimal health by focusing on prevention and the early detection of disease. By bringing your healthy-seeming cat or dog in to see us routinely for an exam, you give your veterinarians the chance to monitor your companion's overall health and to check for diseases in their earliest stages.
Treating disease early offers your pet their best chance at good treatment outcomes.
Wellness exams also give your vet the chance to provide you with valuable information about your act or dog's diet and exercise routines. Making sure your pet stays generally healthy and gets plenty of exercise are both excellent ways to ensure they live a long and happy life.
At Torrance Companion Animal Hospital, we firmly believe that prevention is far better than treatment when it comes to your animal's health, so while you are at our office for your pet's exam we will ensure that your dog or cat's vaccines are up-to-date and that you know about the parasite prevention products that can best help your pet to stay healthy.
Scheduling Your Pet's Routine Wellness Exam
The frequency with which your pet should see your vet for a wellness exam depends on your pet's age, their previous medical history, their lifestyle and the breed's risk for developing disease. If your animal is healthy right now, but has a history of illness, visiting your vet twice each year can help to ensure that your pet remains as healthy as possible.
For adult pets in good health,a an annual cat or dog exam is recommended.
Animals that are very young or very old tend to be more susceptible to illness. If you have a new puppy or kitten it can be a good idea to visit your vet once a month for the first 4 - 6 months.
If your pet is older or is an animal like giant breed dogs, twice-yearly wellness exams are recommended. This will give our vets a chance to check up on your pet for the ealriest sigsn of disease and give them treatment before their condition becomes much more serious.
What to Expect We You Attend a Wellness Exam for Your Pet
When bringing your pet in to see us for their scheduled exam, your vet will first review your companion's medical history and ask if there is anything about their health or behavior that is causing you concern. Your vet will also ask you about your pet's diet, routine, thirst and appetite levels and urination frequency.
Many veterinarians request that pet owners bring along a fresh sample of their pet's stool (bowel movement) in order for a fecal exam to be performed. Fecals are a valuable tool when it comes to detecting intestinal parasites that can severely impact your pet's health.
Next, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your pet which generally includes the following:
- Weighing your pet
- Listening to your animal's heart and lungs
- Checking the animal's stance and gait for irregularities
- Examining your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Inspecting the overall condition of your pet's coat, watching for dandruff or bald patches
- Taking a close look at your dog or cat's skin for issues such as dryness, parasites, or lumps
- Examining your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Checking eyes for redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Looking at your pet's teeth for any indication of periodontal disease, damage or tooth decay
All of these checks and more can be done quickly and seamlessly provided that no issues are detected along the way.
Annual vaccines will also be given at your pet's wellness exam, based upon the appropriate schedule for your cat or dog. Vaccinations for puppies and kittens, as well as booster shots for adult dogs and cats, are an important part of giving your animal their very best chance at a long and happy life.
Making sure that your pet remains up-to-date on vaccines throughout their life will help to protect your furry friend against a wide variety fon contagious and potentially serious diseases and conditions.
Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Some Pets
In addition to the general checks listed above, your vet may also recommend that your pet undergo extra wellness testing. When you are deciding whether or not your pet will undergo additional testing, it's critical that you keep in mind that, in many cases, the early detection and treatment of disease is less expensive and less invasive than treating the condition in its more advice stages.
The following tests screen for a range of conditions and can help detect the very earliest signs of disease, even before symptoms appear:
- Complete blood count (CDC)
- Thyroid hormone testing
If you have a senior dog or cat, a more detailed series of diagnostic tests may also be recommended, including X-rays and other imaging procedures. These tests, when performed alongside an exam each year, give your vet valuable information that they need to monitor your pet's healthy as well as the progression of any age-related diseases.
This proactive approach to veterinary care can help your pet to maintain comfortable mobility and good health well into their old age.
At The End of Your Pet's Routine Wellness Exam
Once the examination is complete, and your pet has received their annual vaccines, your vet will take the time to discuss any findings with you.
If your vet has found any signs of illness or disease, they will be sure to take time to speak with you in more detail about further required diagnostics and your treatment options.
If your dog or cat is given a clean bill of health, your vet may offer tips or recommendations regarding your pet's diet and exercise routines, oral health, or appropriate parasite prevention.
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.