Wellness Exams Can Help Keep Pets Healthier and Happier
Regular checkups are essential for pets throughout their lives. We ask you to bring your pets in at least once a year for wellness exams and more frequently for older pets, puppies, and kittens, and those with chronic conditions. Practicing prevention can be key to helping pets live well.
The Importance of Early Testing for Disease
Many pets don’t tend to show signs of disease, especially in the early stages. That’s where regular checkups play a crucial role: They give us a chance to catch potential diseases or conditions as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can provide us with more options for treatment and may also give pets a better quality of life.
By being proactive, we can sometimes even prevent certain conditions or illnesses in the first place.
Regular testing of pets, including blood work, urinalysis, and faecal screening, helps us identify any hidden diseases or health conditions. Because certain diseases may have similar clinical signs (symptoms), we use screening tests to figure out what’s wrong and how to properly treat pets.
What to Expect During Your Pet’s Checkup
Puppies and Kittens
When dogs and cats are young, we want to see them frequently to make sure they’re adequately protected by vaccines. We also want to see puppies and kittens several times over that first crucial year to make sure their heart and other organs are healthy, they’re gaining weight and body mass as expected, and their teeth and bones are developing normally.
This is also when your Vedder Mountain veterinarian will deworm your pet to get rid of any intestinal parasites and typically perform a spay or neuter procedure. Spaying/neutering can help reduce some undesirable behaviours, protect your pet against certain cancers, and protect female pets against a potentially life-threatening type of uterine infection called pyometra.
As pets move into their adult years, we want to see them at least once a year for a regular checkup. During these visits, we’ll:
- Perform a thorough physical exam of your pet
- Give your pet needed vaccine boosters to help provide your pet with continued protection against serious, highly contagious, and potentially deadly diseases
- Recommend additional vaccines to help protect against diseases that your individual pet may be at risk for because of lifestyle, risk of exposure, and other factors
- Check blood work for heartworm disease, tick-borne diseases, and breed-specific conditions, such as heart disease or joint issues, as appropriate for your individual pet
- Make sure your pet remains free of ectoparasites (such as fleas and ticks)
- Check for intestinal parasites (that’s why we ask that you bring your pet’s fecal sample with you)
- Examine your pet’s mouth and teeth and recommend any dental care that’s needed
- Perform a nutritional assessment to help make sure your pet is getting the right nutrition for his or her breed, life stage, health, and lifestyle
Once pets begin moving into their senior years (between 6 and 8 years of age for most pets, but sometimes a bit younger for larger dogs), we like to see them at least twice a year. Remember that pets age far faster than we do—unfortunately, this is why we have less time with them than we’d like!
Senior checkups help us detect any potential diseases or conditions, like arthritis, cancer, dental disease, thyroid issues, and heart, kidney, and liver disease, which may become more common as pets age. The earlier we can catch any changes, the better. More frequent veterinary exams may even give you more quality time with your pet.
At Vedder Mountain Veterinary Clinic, we don’t want to wait until something’s wrong if we can catch diseases early, when they may be easier to treat or manage.
How Wellness Exams Help You
In addition to playing a crucial role in helping to keep your pets healthy throughout life, regular checkups give you the opportunity to:
- Ask us about any questions or concerns you might have
- Bring up anything you’ve noticed that seems different with your pets, like a behaviour that’s new or a lump or bump you hadn’t noticed before
Screening tests can not only give us an early start on treatment, but if they come back negative, they can give you peace of mind.
Practicing Preventive Care
If you notice that your pet is behaving differently or if your dog or cat just seems off, get in touch with us right away. When possible, we want to catch anything that isn’t normal early on. Contact us to schedule your pet’s wellness exam, or make an appointment today.