Wellness checks are an essential part of your pet’s care. They are a way you can be proactive about your pet’s health.
Many pet owners assume their pet will stay free of disease if they get the vaccines necessary every year. However, the reality is that pets can be sick for months without showing physical signs of illness. Vaccines help prevent some diseases, not all of them.
With wellness checks, you can prevent your pet from having a dangerous condition go undetected and developing into its later stages. The earlier we diagnose a problem, the better chance a pet has of surviving.
Wellness Checks Examination
Wellness checks typically take about 30 minutes. During your regular wellness checks, we will examine all over your pet’s body and look for signs of disease or anything unusual. As part of the wellness check, we recommend blood work and urine samples. These tests help detect internal problems that we cannot see visually.
We recommend you get these checkups at least once a year. Wellness checks are an easy way to ensure your pet maintains optimal health and, ultimately, happiness.
The Wellness Exam Procedure
During the exam, we will inspect your pet from nose to tail. You should make sure to mention any concerns you may have regarding changes in your pet’s normal behavior or temperament. A change in your pet’s daily habits could be the first sign of an underlying disease or condition that requires attention or treatment. We will examine your pet’s ears for redness, itchiness, or any other problems.
We will also examine your pet’s fur and skin for hair loss, pigment changes, lumps, itchy spots, or excessive shedding. Be sure to mention if your animal is chewing or licking any area on its body.
Be sure to mention any concerns with your pet’s breathing or if he is coughing, sneezing, has nasal discharge, or has shortness of breath. We will listen to his heart and lungs during the exam for any potential problems.
Wellness checks are also a great time to check that your pet is up-to-date on all of its needed vaccinations. We offer a variety of vaccines for your pets to prevent potentially life-threatening diseases. When you bring in your pet for a checkup, we will go over their exact vaccination schedule and answer any questions you might have.
Heartworm Testing for Dogs
Heartworm disease is a severe disease and leads to death if untreated, another critical reason for an annual wellness check. According to the FDA, yearly testing for heartworms is recommended, and sometimes even more frequently.
“Dogs that are seven months of age and older should be tested for heartworms before starting heartworm prevention. A dog may appear healthy on the outside, but heartworms may be living and thriving on the inside.
A dog started on heartworm preventative medicine without being tested by a veterinarian will remain infected with adult heartworms. Heartworm preventives do not kill adult heartworms; therefore, the dog will remain infected. Also, giving a heartworm preventive to a dog infected with adult heartworms may be harmful or deadly.
We recommend annual testing of all dogs on heartworm prevention. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian about the best time for your dog’s yearly heartworm test.”
Wellness checks are even more important for senior pets. As our pets age, they can become even more prone to health issues. Things such as heart disease, cancer, joint problems, etc. unfortunately become much more common in older pets.
You should consult with your veterinarian on whether or not more frequent wellness checks should be done. Generally, once a pet reaches the age of 7, you should have them examined at least twice yearly.
At Pine Creek Animal Hospital, we want to do everything to ensure your pets live a long and happy life. Wellness checks are an excellent way for us to interact with your pet and answer any questions you might have. It also gives us the information we need to keep your animal in good health. Schedule a wellness check today!
From all of us here at Pine Creek Animal Hospital we wish you Happy Thanksgiving!
Ashley Tuma, D.V.M.