A yearly veterinary checkup is the best way to keep your pet as healthy as possible – because it’s much easier to prevent disease than to treat it.
How your veterinarian can help you:
The first part of a wellness visit is a health evaluation. This includes a thorough history including information about a pet’s breed, age, lifestyle, behavior, and diet; a comprehensive physical exam; and measuring some basic parameter like weight, temperature, and pulse and respiration rates.
Annual examination – Every pet should have a yearly physical examination by a veterinarian. Some pets (eg. older pets) should be seen even more frequently. Just like people, pets can have a range of what is ‘normal’ for them. Bringing your pet to a veterinarian at least once a year helps us keep track of any changes in your pet’s individual values, and may help detect some disease processes before they become a problem. Ask your veterinarian how often your pet needs a physical examination.
Fecal testing and parasite control – Every pet should have an annual fecal exam and receive monthly parasite prevention (heartworms, flea and tick). Even if your pet never leaves your yard, you never know who’s visiting yours!
Vaccinations – Vaccinations are important part of preventing disease in your pet. Your own veterinarian may alter these recommendations based on your pet’s history, current health, and lifestyle.
Microchipping – Every pet should be microchipped as a form of permanent identification. Even indoor-only pets can sometimes escape. All shelters and veterinarians can easily scan for a microchip and quickly reunite you with your pet.
How you can prevent disease at home:
Nutrition/Feeding – Obesity is a major problem in pets and can lead to many disease processes including heart disease, joint disease, etc. Keeping your pet at an appropriate weight is an important step in fostering health and longevity. If you have questions about food options, how much to feed your pet, or if your pet is at a healthy weight don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian.
Dental Care – Dental disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in adult pets, and can potentially lead to heart or kidneys problems. But it’s easily preventable!
Pay attention to your pet’s behavior – You know your pet better than anyone else. If you see behavior changes that concern you, consult your local veterinarian. While behavior changes are not always a sign of disease, if a disease process is affecting your pet, the earlier we find out, the better.
Want to learn more about annual wellness exams? Visit the Partners for Healthy Pets Website.