All veterinarians recommend that pets attend regular, often annual, pet wellness exams, even if your pet doesn’t seem sick. While adding another appointment to a packed schedule may not seem like a priority when your pet isn’t showing signs of being unwell, attending these screening exams shouldn’t be avoided.
Here’s what you need to know about what to expect during a pet wellness exam, and why each different element is important.
Most pet wellness exams start with a consultation. This is a short, informal conversation with your vet during which they will ask you lots of questions about the health and behavior of your pet. You will probably be asked about their diet, how much exercise they get and if any of their usual behaviors have changed recently. Behavior changes can be characteristic of underlying health problems. The consultation is also an ideal time for you to raise any concerns that you have or ask any questions about the way you are taking care of your pet. If your vet feels that any changes could benefit your pet, such as a new diet or more exercise, they’ll likely make this recommendation now. Their advice is invaluable and could help your pet to enjoy a healthy and active life for longer.
A nose-to-tail inspection of your pet’s body will tell your vet a lot of important information about their health and wellbeing. Your vet will methodically assess each area of your pet, including their legs, paws, head, neck, eyes, ears, and teeth. They will also palpate their abdomen to ensure that their organs seem in the right size and place. Some of the key observations your vet will be making will include:
Many vets incorporate testing into annual wellness exams. Urine, fecal, and blood testing can reveal invaluable information about the health of your pet, often before any symptoms start to appear.
There are two different blood tests – a complete blood count, known as a CBC test, and blood chemistry testing. Each can provide different data about how well your pet’s body is working. Many diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver dysfunction, anemia, infection, and even cancer, can be detected using routine blood testing. Meanwhile, urine and fecal testing can highlight issues with your pet’s renal system as well as if they have intestinal worms.
Most dogs are offered heartworm testing as part of their annual wellness exam. Heartworms are deadly parasites, but symptoms develop very slowly, and often by the time it is detected, significant damage will already have been done to your pet’s health. Heartworm testing (along with the necessary preventatives) is essential to keep your dog safe.
Vaccines are the best way to protect your pet from a variety of illnesses and diseases, many of which are deadly. However, the effects of a vaccine are only temporary, meaning that it is very important to have them re-administrated after the recommended period of time has elapsed. Many vets advocate administering vaccination boosters during a pet wellness exam to avoid multiple appointments or forgetting to book an appointment for your pet later on.
Your vet will also talk to you about parasite prevention and the options available to you to keep your pet safe from ticks, fleas, and other parasitic threats.
For more information about pet wellness exams, or to schedule an appointment., please speak to Noah's Ark Pet Hospital in Amarillo, TX at (806)-457-9922.