If you haven’t been responsible for a pet before, there are probably lots of aspects of his care that you are unfamiliar with. When you first register him with our veterinary practice, one thing that we will speak to you about is the importance of pet wellness exams.
What are pet wellness exams?
A pet wellness exam, also known as an annual check-up, is an appointment that is used, not to treat existing symptoms, but to ensure that there are no illnesses starting to develop that could affect your pet’s health. This is important as by identifying them early, much of the damage that they could potentially cause can be stopped and this will benefit 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 being less unpleasant for your precious pet.
How often should my pet have a wellness exam?
How often your pet should attend a wellness exam will primarily depend upon his age. This is because animals are more prone to certain diseases at particular stages of their life. Young animals, such as puppies and kitten, will need to be seen fairly frequently at first so that they can receive their vaccinations. Once they reach a year of age and throughout adulthood, annual wellness exams are usually sufficient, although if your pet has a health problem, we may recommend that we see him more frequently than this. At some point, your pet will be classed as being ‘senior’. Exactly when this will happen will depend on his species and breed, and at this point, his immune system and body functions will be starting to deteriorate. Certain diseases are more likely as they get older too, including diabetes, arthritis, dental problems, vision problems, deafness, kidney disease, and even cancer. As a result, we generally recommend that older pets are seen every six months.
What can I expect to happen during my pet’s wellness exam?
We understand that it can be nerve-wracking to attend an appointment where you aren’t sure what to expect. Typically, your pet’s wellness exam will be divided into several distinct parts. These are:
Consultation with your veterinarian
This informal chat is an opportunity for our vet to ask you about how your pet has been generally and if you have any concerns. We may inquire about his diet, such as what he eats and how often he eats, about his exercise and activity levels, and about his general behavior. This information can be helpful in determining the overall wellbeing of your pet, and we may be able to make some recommendations that could improve his health.
This typically comprises of checking his weight, his heart rate, his breathing, his temperature and assessing any samples that we have asked you to bring with you which could include a urinalysis or stool test.
Diagnostics screening tests may not necessarily be required at every appointment, but there may be times where we request the following:
Blood testing, including a complete blood count and blood chemistry profile
Thyroid hormone testing
A physical examination
We can tell a lot about your pet’s health by his appearance and by what we can feel when we perform a physical examination. We will look at his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, paws and joints. We will examine the lymph nodes in his head, neck and hind legs to check that they aren’t enlarged, and we will palpate his abdomen to check that his organs are normal and aren’t causing him any pain. Finally, we will check how he walks and how alert he is.
If we identify any issues as a result of your pet’s wellness exam, we will immediately inform you of our findings and speak to you about the best way to tackle the problems we have discovered.
If you have any questions about our pet wellness exams, or if you are ready to arrange an appointment for your pet, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by contacting our animal medical center in Glendale, AZ today.