As a caring, committed and compassionate pet owner, one of your biggest priorities will undoubtedly be the wellness of your animal. We all want our pets to live long, healthy and happy lives, but they are heavily reliant on us to make this a reality for them. Since they aren’t able to take responsibility for many aspects of their care, they need us to take on this role on their behalf. One of the best ways in which we can support our pet’s overall wellbeing is to make sure that we schedule and attend their regular pet wellness exams.
A pet wellness exam is often known by a range of different names including an annual check-up, a preventative pet care check and a wellness appointment. However, they all mean the same thing and have the same goal – to assess the current health and condition of your pet and ensure that there are no developing illnesses that could threaten their overall health and wellbeing.
Early detection of health problems is as crucial in veterinary medicine as it is in that for humans. By spotting potential problems early, much of the damage that they could potentially cause can be stopped, improving your pet’s long-term health. It is also far easier and less expensive to treat an illness in its early stages, as well as treatment generally being far less unpleasant for your darling animal.
Wellness exams are a crucial part of your pet’s preventative care program and how often you can expect to need to bring them in for these will depend on a range of individual factors. These are primarily your pet’s age and current health. There are many reasons for this, but the most obvious is that animals are more likely to be affected by illness at specific stages of their life. For example, the immune systems of young animals are unlikely to be fully developed, and this makes them more at risk of becoming unwell. Similarly, the immune system of an older pet can start to deteriorate and be less effective at fighting off disease. Since certain diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and even cancer are more common amongst older animals, regular wellness exams usually increase in frequency as your pet ages.
A pet wellness exam usually involves a variety of different elements. These include the following:
Before we start the physical aspect of the exam, we like to have an informal chat with you about how you feel your pet’s health is and if you have any concerns about any aspect of their wellbeing. We might ask you about your pet’s current diet, how much exercise they are getting and if there are any behaviors that you are worried about.
We normally begin the physical aspect of your pet’s wellness exam with a basic physical assessment. This includes checking their weight, their heart rate, their breathing, their temperature and assessing any samples that we have asked you to bring with you, which normally involves a urinalysis or stool sample.
If we have a reason to believe that your pet may be experiencing a health problem, or if we haven’t assessed your pet via a blood test recently, we may recommend a series of more comprehensive tests. These include:
- Blood testing, including a complete blood count and blood chemistry profile
- Thyroid hormone test
- Heartworm test
- CT scans
- MRI scans
This comprehensive test looks at various aspects of your pet’s physical wellbeing including
their eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, paws and joints. We will assess the lymph nodes in their head, neck and hind legs to check that they aren’t enlarged or abnormal in any way, and we will check their abdomen to feel that their organs are normal in terms of size and position. We may also ask your pet to walk around so we can assess how well they move and speak to them to see how well they respond.
Comprehensive pet wellness exams are the best way to ensure the long-term health and wellbeing of your pet. To schedule an appointment, please contact our passionate and dedicated veterinary team.