Just like we do, our furry friends need regular wellness exams to stay their healthiest. What may seem like a simple checkup really is the foundation for preventing more serious health problems and potentially not only saving money, but your pet’s life. Here are some guidelines and tips for getting the most out of your pet’s wellness visits.
The frequency of wellness exams coincides with the different points in an animal’s life. Puppies and kittens, for example, should see a veterinarian every three weeks for exams and booster vaccinations until they are16 weeks old. Adults typically need an annual wellness exam. Seniors usually need to be seen twice a year because their health can change more quickly than younger pets.
A wellness visit typically includes a head-to-toe physical exam. It also may include a check for growths and masses on the skin; checking the underbelly and groin for tenderness or swelling; an examination of the eyes, ears and nose for obstructions; and an oral exam to look for signs of gum disease, growths or tooth issues. Routine blood work and fecal exams also will be conducted to provide a baseline for evaluating changes or trends in your pet’s health that the physical may not reveal. Other diagnostics may include testing for heartworm disease and internal parasites. To ensure a happy, healthy pet, nutrition and behavior also will be discussed.
If the veterinarian detects something during the physical exam, he or she will explain what they are feeling or seeing. The veterinarian will recommend a treatment plan, which may include diagnostic tests or medication and expected outcomes. This information will help you make the best decision for you and your pet. Keep in mind that catching and treating a problem early is easier and more cost-effective in the long run and the best way to keep your furry friend healthy.