Regular checkups are crucial for your furry friend's health as they allow your veterinarian to keep an eye on any potential health issues, detect early signs of diseases, and administer preventive treatments to safeguard your pet from life-threatening conditions. Our vets at Mount Vernon explain the advantages of routine pet exams.
My pet is healthy. Why do they need a vet checkup?
Taking care of your pet's health is essential to ensure they live a long and healthy life. This involves providing them with preventive care that includes routine wellness exams. The frequency of these exams depends on the individual needs of your dog or cat and can be either annually or twice a year. By staying on top of preventive care, you can give your furry friend the best chance at optimum health.
These routine exams are vet checkups for your beloved pet. By bringing your dog or cat in to see the vet, even when they seem perfectly healthy, you allow your team of veterinary professionals to monitor your pet's health, check for the earliest signs of diseases, and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your dog or cat looking and feeling they're very best.
Spotting health issues such as parasites, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues early, before obvious symptoms appear, means that treatment can begin early when it is most effective.
How often should my pet have a routine exam?
At Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, our vets recommend annual cat or dog checkups for most pets. However, each pet has different needs - especially as they age. This is why the frequency of your cat or dog's checkups will depend on their age and medical history.
Pets that are either young or old may be at a higher risk of encountering health problems that adult pets can typically withstand. To provide your furry companion with the best possible care, bringing them in for more regular checkups is crucial. For puppies and kittens that are under a year old, it's recommended to have monthly checkups. For geriatric pets, it's suggested to schedule checkups twice annually or more frequently if required.
What's involved in a vet checkup for pets?
When you take your four-legged friend for their routine exam, your veterinarian will review their medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
In some instances, we will ask you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order to do a fecal exam. We will take that sample and examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites, which would be very difficult to detect otherwise.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
All of these tests are meant to detect signs of any health problems your pet may be experiencing. Since our dogs and cats can't tell us when they are uncomfortable, these tests and checks help to determine how your furry friend is generally feeling.
Will my pet get their shots during their checkup?
Protecting your furry friend from common and life-threatening diseases is crucial, and vaccines are the best way to do so. The recommended vaccines for your cat or dog depend on their lifestyle and your location.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals. Speak to your vet to learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet.
They will require regular ' booster shots ' to keep adult dogs and cats protected from disease. Generally, these shots are administered either annually or once every three years. You can rely on your veterinarian to inform you of when your pet's booster shots are due.
Does my pet need parasite prevention?
Parasites are a real health threat to Mount Vernon pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can invade your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, that's why your vet will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your four-legged friend. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Is preventive care for pets expensive?
Regularly scheduled wellness exams and preventive care can save you money compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders, or diseases, especially heartworm.
Additionally, these exams ensure that your pet experiences minimal discomfort or pain from any health issues they may be facing. Early detection of medical issues allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment.