A pet wellness exam is similar to your own annual checkup—and equally important. When it comes to health—yours or your pet’s—a proactive approach is best to help ensure a long, comfortable, and happy life. Don’t wait until your pet shows signs of a health issue. Take preventive measures to help keep your pet in optimal health, and avoid potential health issues. Our Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team believes your pet’s health care is a team effort, and we want to join you in ensuring that your pet lives their healthiest, best life. Here’s why regular wellness exams are essential.
Wellness exams can improve your pet’s life
A “wellness” exam is all in the name. By regularly monitoring your pet when they are healthy, your veterinarian can provide preventive care, detect signs of trouble early, and intervene to stave off potential medical conditions. Pets are excellent at masking their illnesses and pain, and you often won’t see any indication that something is wrong until their condition has advanced, their pain level is high, and the problem is more difficult to treat. Your pet’s yearly wellness screenings that include their physical exam can prevent your pet from experiencing unnecessary pain and suffering, and potentially prolong or save their life.
Wellness exams can save you money
The cliche “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” can describe the financial benefits of preventive pet care. A pet who is regularly examined by their veterinarian, kept up to date on their vaccinations, and treated with year-round parasite preventives has a reduced risk of costly health complications. Prevention often costs a fraction of treating an advanced disease.
Wellness exams accommodate your pet’s life stages
Pets require preventive care from day one, but their wellness exams will need changing to accommodate every life stage, from their first weeks through their senior years.
- Puppies and kittens — Puppies and kittens generally need to see a veterinarian for wellness care every three to four weeks, starting when they are 6 to 8 weeks old.
- Adult pets — Healthy adult pets should have annual wellness exams to monitor their health and prevent disease.
- Senior pets — Starting at around 8 years of age for dogs, and 10 for cats, senior pets should see their veterinarian at least twice a year.
What to expect during your pet’s wellness exam
Your veterinarian will complete a thorough wellness exam, which includes a nose-to-tail physical exam and more.
- Eyes — Your veterinarian will examine your pet’s eyes, including the cornea, lens, optic disc, and retina, looking for problems such as conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and cataracts.
- Mouth — Your pet’s oral health is an important part of their overall health and your veterinarian will examine your pet’s mouth, looking for gingivitis signs, loose teeth, tartar accumulation, and oral masses.
- Skin — Your pet’s coat and skin condition also can provide clues about their overall health. Your veterinarian will inspect your pet’s skin for infection, inflammation, and parasites.
- Heart — Your veterinarian will listen to your pet’s heart to assess their heart rate and check for a murmur or arrhythmia, which may require further diagnostic testing.
- Abdomen — An abdominal exam is more than a belly rub—your veterinarian is ensuring your pet’s organs are the correct size and whether masses are present.
- Muscles, joints, and bones — Your veterinarian will manipulate your pet’s limbs to test for pain, and watch your pet walk, looking for lameness. Limping or muscle loss can signal musculoskeletal issues, and should be treated early to alleviate pain.
- Weight — Your pet will be weighed at their wellness exam to ensure they are at a healthy weight and to set a baseline that will be monitored over time for weight gain or loss, and indications of an underlying metabolic condition.
- Wellness screenings —In addition to a physical examination, your veterinarian will complete a range of wellness screenings, such as blood work, urinalysis, fecal check, and heartworm test to gather more information regarding your pet’s health.
- Vaccinations and parasite control — Your veterinarian will ensure your pet’s vaccinations and parasite preventives are current, and set appropriate vaccination and parasite prevention protocols to protect your pet from illness and disease all year long.
Your pet’s wellness exams are clearly a vital part of their overall health and, as a team, we can ensure your pet has regular screenings so we can detect disease and start treatment early, and help to provide you and your pet with more quality years together. Contact our Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team for your pet’s appointment.
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