Many people think that their pet only needs to see a vet if they are sick or injured. However, routine pet wellness exams are proven to help your pet to live a long, happy and healthy life. This is because frequent visits to your vet, even if only once a year, enable the health and condition of your pet to be closely monitored. This allows for the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of many conditions that could cause unpleasant and debilitating symptoms, affecting the quality of your pet’s life, and even potentially putting their life at risk. As with all health issues, the earlier such problems are identified, the more likely they are to be treated successfully.
All pets should attend routine pet wellness exams, regardless of their age. Your vet will be happy to advise you of the frequency at which these visits should take place, and which will depend on individual factors relating to your pet. However, most pets are recommended to visit for routine exams every six months.
Routine pet wellness exams usually comprise a number of different elements, all of which are designed to assess the overall health and condition of your animal. These include:
A physical examination. This is a top-to-the-tail assessment of your pet’s body, looking at everything from the components of their face (ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc) to their skin, coat, abdomen, bones, and joints. This examination can help your vet to identify any obvious visible issues or those which can be felt – for example, a swollen belly or ear infection.
Vital observations. This comprises a series of different tests that gauge your pet’s overall wellness. Your vet will see how much your pet weighs, take their temperature, assess their heart rate, respiratory rate, and listen to their lungs to make sure that they are clear.
Fecal/urine analysis. Inspecting your pet’s excretions can also tell your vet a considerable amount about their health, with a urinalysis identifying things such as urinary tract infections, kidney dysfunction, and even diabetes. Meanwhile, fecal testing can be used to identify common intestinal worms.
Evaluating the health of any pet can be a complex process. One of the main reasons for this is because our animals aren’t able to tell us how they are feeling. While you could you’re your doctor if you have been experiencing recurrent headaches, knee pain, or stomach ache, our pets can’t verbally communicate this to us. And since issues like these aren’t obvious, it can be difficult or even impossible to tell that our pets are experiencing a problem.
Blood testing forms a crucial element of routine pet wellness exams. This is because blood tests can actually tell us a great deal about the health and wellness of our animals in the absence of them being able to communicate with us. The results of routine blood tests can be used to monitor your pet’s health, enabling any underlying issues to be detected early on, before they can cause a larger, potentially more unpleasant, and harder-to-treat health problem.
Routine blood work usually comprises of several elements including:
Complete blood count (CBC): this blood test can detect a wide range of disorders including infections. It measures red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets. Any unusual increases or decreases in cell counts can be indicative of any underlying medical condition that requires further evaluation.
Blood chemistry test: blood chemistry tests are used to assess how well your pet’s body organs are working, hormone levels, electrolyte status, and more. They can be used to detect metabolic conditions, such as diabetes, kidney function, and thyroid levels. They are particularly important for evaluating the health of older pets and those taking medication long-term.
Results of blood tests can be stored on your pet’s health file so that they can be referred to at future appointments if necessary.
Prevention is the real goal of routine pet wellness exams, but this can only be achieved by your pet having the appropriate preventative vaccinations and parasite treatments. There are many illnesses and diseases, many of which are caused by parasites, that can affect our animals. Fortunately, the vast majority of these can be prevented thanks to vaccinations, oral medications, and topical treatments that have been developed to protect our pets. Your veterinarian will create a bespoke vaccination schedule for your pet and give you all of the information that you need to make informed decisions about the parasite preventatives your pet needs.
If you would like more information about routine pet wellness exams, or to schedule an appointment for your pet, please contact our friendly and knowledgeable team in Coronado, CA at (619) 996-3335.