Pet check-ups are also called “wellness exams” because their purpose is to keep your pet healthy and well. You should take your pet for a wellness check-up once each year. Visiting the vet annually helps to catch underlying health problems before they develop into serious issues.
How often should your pet get a wellness exam?
Every cat and dog should get a wellness exam every single year. These annual exams should take place all the way into your pet’s senior years. The older your pet gets, the more the aspects of his health will change in short periods of time. So, it’s important that your pet doesn’t miss not even one annual exam.
Just like humans, there are certain illnesses that come with age when it comes to pets. That’s why the AAHA recommends that healthy senior cats and dogs should get pet wellness check-ups every six months. If special health concerns arise, your vet will recommend a customized pet check-up schedule instead.
What should you expect at your pet’s wellness exam?
Your vet will need your pet’s complete health history. So, if you’re visiting a new vet, and you have this information, be sure to bring it with you. Also, when answering questionnaires about your pet’s health, be sure to note things such as:
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- Excessing hunger and thirstiness
- Excessing urination, scratching or panting
Here are some other questions you should be prepared to answer at your pet’s wellness exams:
- Does your pet seem to have problems with getting up and about in the mornings?
- Does your pet seem to be showing signs of being physically unbalanced or weak?
- Does your pet seem to show an unwillingness to be active or exercise?
- Is your pet more prone to exposure to intestinal parasites, heartworms, ticks and fleas because of her lifestyle or where you live?
Your Pet’s Vital Statistics
At your pet’s wellness exams, your vet’s office will take note of his body weight, temperature, breathing rate and pulse. Serious weight loss can be a sign of the early stages of diabetes, kidney disease or other metabolic disease. Substantial weight gain means that your pet is in need of a healthier diet and exercise plan. Your veterinarian will help you create an effective diet and exercise plan for your pet.
“From Head to Toe” Exams
At your pet’s check-ups, your veterinarian will also feel for abnormalities in her abdomen. Some of these include masses, enlarged organs, and problems with the liver, kidneys, intestines, stomach and other organs. Your furry friend will also be examined for problems with his legs, feet, nose, lymph nodes and muscles. This is called a “from head to toe” exam.
Vaccinations are another important aspect of pet wellness exams. They are one of the most effective preventive measure pet owners can take to keep their furry buddies healthy.
Dog Immunizations Include:
- Lyme disease
- Parvovirus (Parvo)
Cat Immunizations Include:
- Feline leukemia
- Feline rhinotracheitis
- Feline panleukopenia (distemper)
Once again, generally, your pet needs a wellness exam once per year. This changes to every six months as you pet enters her senior years. If your pet has serious health issues or diseases that need to be monitored, your local vet will set up a pet check-up schedule, customized for your pet’s health needs.
Ryean Bishop is the online outreach Coordinator for Bannock Animal Medical Center in Pocatello Idaho. Ryean enjoys writing about animals and interacting with fellow animal lovers online. When he’s not writing he enjoys getting out and enjoying the Idaho wilderness with his family and his dog, Sam.