Bringing your pet in for an annual diagnostic and wellness check-up can help reassure you that your dog or cat is healthy or help us detect hidden diseases or conditions early. Early detection can improve the prognosis of many diseases, keep medical costs down, and help your pet live longer. Most dogs and cats are good at hiding signs that something is wrong, so subtle changes in their health or behaviour might be easy to overlook, and depending on the disease, some pets don’t show any symptoms until the disease is very advanced.
Dogs and cats age quicker than humans, so it is even more crucial for our companion animals to receive regular exams. In addition, the risks of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hormone disorders, kidney and liver problems all increase with age.
During your pet’s wellness exam, we will perform a physical assessment, checking your dog or cat from nose to tail. Our annual examinations include a head to tail check-up. During the examination the vet will evaluate your pet’s weight, skin and hair coat, as these can be indications of overall health. Vets use all their senses to evaluate your pet’s health- smell, sight, touch and hearing, usually this is accomplished while chatting with the pet’s owner, seeking cues of the pet’s lifestyle and their respective health. Our exams dig a little deeper looking for signs of health problems that are not easily detected by a physical exam. Thus we include blood pressure evaluation and intra-ocular (inside the eye) pressure as part of our annual exam. Elevated blood pressure can cause heart conditions and continued elevated blood pressure can damage kidneys resulting in kidney failure. Decreased eye pressure are indicative of uveitis due to inflammation inside the eye usually due to an underlying systemic problem or the the presence of cataracts. If the inflammation is not treated properly, often the damage from the inflammation results increased eye pressures and secondary glaucoma and blindness. Nearly everyone knows that increased eye pressure aka glaucoma is extremely painful and causes blindness unless well controlled.
We always advise annual blood work, urinalysis and microscopic fecal exams during your pet’s visit. Most internal parasites cannot be detected except by a microscopic examination of fresh feces. Parasites can be affecting your pet’s health, heavy burdens can actually kill your pet. As well, many dog/cat parasites can infect humans, such diseases are called “zoonotic”. We do understand that finances can be a concern to many owners but disease prevention and early detection can often mean that simple lifestyle changes such a food change or weight loss could increase your pet’s longevity and their overall health.
During your pet’s annual examination we will also make sure your pet receives appropriate vaccinations and preventives based on your pet’s lifestyle which includes consideration of all aspects of your pets life as things as age, and risk factors such as: breed, visits to the groomer, boarding, walking in the park/ contact with other pets, presence of children/ older people/ sick people in the house, activities such as camping, dog sports, doggie daycare and travel plans all play into the decision on how to vaccinate a pet.
Two of the most common health problems facing pets today are dental disease and obesity related diseases. Most pets require professional dental care such as regular tartar scaling ad polishing to help prevent tartar build-up. See our dental section for more information on the importance of preventing and treating dental disease. Bad teeth really can and do kill people and pets.
When your pet is nearing his or her senior years, we will recommend a baseline exam and diagnostic workup so we’ll know what’s normal for your pet. This will enable us to keep track of any changes. Early disease detection often leads to changes that can increase the length of your pet’s life and will most certainly help them enjoy life to the fullest
Please let us know if you’ve noticed any physical or behavioral changes in your pet, as well as any other concerns you might have. Your pet’s health is always worth a quick phone call or visit!
Make the time to prevent health problems and detect problems early on and make your appointment for your pet’s wellness appointment today!