Wellness Care for Pets
Cats and dogs are masters at hiding disease and pain issues, until it is quite advanced. Regular checkups will help to discover any issues your pet may be trying to hide. All animals can have allergies, ear problems, parasites (on their surface or inside their bodies), skin and hair/coat issues. Wellness exams keeps a line of communication open between you and your pet's vet and also helps your vet to know and monitor changes in your pet which may indicate problems at the earliest stages, making it easier to treat and/or cure your pet.
Scheduling Your Pet's Vet Visits
- Puppies and Kittens - need an initial evaluation, parasite testing, vaccinations, preventatives and you need to know the health implications of the breed of pet you have.
- Adult Dogs and Cats (less than 7 years old) - need an annual checkup for evaluation, preventatives, parasite testing and breed-specific screenings (if indicated.)
- Senior Dogs and Cats (7+ years old) - need semi-annual checkups with all the same evaluations as an adult PLUS annual blood screening for early detection of common diseases
Wellness exams are the best time for you to ask questions and get qualified, knowledgeable answers about what you can do to help keep your pet healthy and happy.
Just because your pet stays indoors and is up-to-date on vaccinations, doesn't mean there's nothing more they need. Other environmental factors like exercise, food quality/quantity, allergens, and even emotional aspects of their life can impact your pet's physical health. Pets age too, and their needs will change as they get older.
The breed of pet you have may pre-disposition them for certain health problems that may need to be monitored. Purebreds have more issues, statistically, than the "mix and match" variety in both dogs and cats. For instance, in dogs, wellness visits will watch for the diseases each breed is more prone to experience:
- Hip Dysplasia - German Shepherds (and other large breeds)
- Heart Disease - Boxers and Dobermans
- Glaucoma - Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels
- Back Problems - Dachshunds
- Respiratory Issues - Bulldogs
- Periodontal Disease - Yorkie
It's More Than Vaccinations
Yes, all animals need regular vaccinations and booster shots to stay healthy, but they need more care than that -- just like you do. They need to have their medical and behavioral history reviewed by a trained veterinarian (after all, they can't TELL you when something is wrong), they need a physical exam, a review of family/genetic history, and may need lab testing to uncover what's bothering them. In short, they need the same care that you need -- they are just less vocal about it.
Keeping your pet healthy will also keep you and your family healthy. Some pets have intestinal and external parasites and diseases that can be transferred to humans. You need to know what those are and how to prevent them (and what to do if your pet has them).