What to expect in your pet's annual exam.
by NW Vet Staff
Bringing your pets to see their veterinarian yearly (Or even every 6 months for elderly pets) is important even if they aren’t due for vaccines because it gives the doctor a chance to catch potential problems early. By bringing your pet in every year, even when they seem happy and healthy is important to establish a baseline so that the vet can see any changes or trends in things such as weight or blood chemistry.
Sometimes time flies by and you can’t believe a year has already passed. But it is important to remember that the average estimate of cat/dog years to human years is about 5:1. That means that if you skip just one annual exam for your pet, it is equivalent to not going to your own doctor for 10 years!
Another thing to think about, is that veterinary medicine is in a constant state of change and improvement. New information and treatment options are becoming available all the time and scheduling an annual exam is a great way to be sure your pet is getting the best care that is available to them.
These are some of the things the veterinarian is looking at during your pet’s annual visit:
- Signs of illness or disease
Some symptoms are hard to spot without the trained eye of a veterinarian, and if an illness is caught in early stages it can save you a lot of money and heartache if you can begin to treat it in its early stages.
- Listening for heart abnormalities
Heart conditions or murmurs can be serious health issues and this is one of the most important reasons to have your pet looked at by a veterinarian.
- Checking for dental problems
Dental disease can cause other serious health problems so it is very important to stay on top of your pet’s oral health before it escalates.
- Parasite control
Intestinal parasites do not always produce visible symptoms, such as worms passed in the stool, so it is very important to have your pet’s stool tested at least annually. In the event any parasites are found, you can get the appropriate treatment to get rid of them right away.
Vaccinating your pet for Rabies is important and required by the state of Washington in order to make sure the disease doesn’t become more prevalent. Other vaccinations are important for protecting your pet against illnesses that can become serious or even fatal.
Your veterinarian monitors trends in weight gain or loss to be sure your pet has the best diet and good exercise habits, but also because some changes in weight can be indications of other serious health problems.
- Changes in blood chemistry
Blood tests are the best way for a veterinarian to see early signs of an illness. Even if your pet appears healthy and their behavior has not changed, there could be something going on that has not yet manifested as an outward sign.
Animals are not able to communicate if they are not feeling well and are often able to mask the symptoms of an illness until it is advanced and more difficult to treat. A yearly exam with your veterinarian is a small investment of money and time that can make a huge difference in the health and happiness of your pets.