Why does my pet need a wellness exam every year?

Why does my pet need a wellness exam every year?

Many of us consider our pets to be part of our family. We love and cherish them, we share their photos, we take videos of them doing silly things, and so on. So of course we want to our pets to live long, happy and healthy lives.

There are two important reasons why your pet needs a wellness exam at least once every year:

  1. Remember- your pet ages much faster than you do. Taking your dog to the vet every 2 years is like you going to your doctor every 14 years!
  2. Animals are by nature very stoic and uncomplaining. They will hide their disease and pain as part of their survival instinct. This means that your pet can be sick for some time before you even become aware of it.

What is a wellness exam?

A wellness exam is a thorough physical that allows us to find and treat an illness or disease BEFORE it becomes serious. Often diseases that are caught early are much easier to treat or manage before the symptoms become obvious or noticeable. There have been tremendous advances in veterinary medicine over the past 10 years. Many of the diseases that once dramatically threatened or shortened your pet’s life can now be treated or managed effectively if detected early. An important part of your pet’s wellness exam is laboratory testing. Animals can’t tell us where it hurts! Some early diseases can only be detected with laboratory testing.

Examples of diseases that can be detected with physical exam and/or laboratory testing include:

  • Intestinal parasites
  • Arthritis and painful joints
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Fleas, ticks, and diseases of the skin
  • Weight problems and disorders of the endocrine system
  • Eye and ear infections and diseases
  • Heartworm disease and feline leukemia virus
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Dental disease

Speaking of dental disease, did you know that dental problems in pets have been linked to heart disease later in life? Just like with people, keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy can prevent infections that later may cause certain heart conditions. If your pet has bad breath it may be a sign of a health problem – you should schedule an examination. Regular dental cleanings, coupled with teeth brushing at home, will improve your pet’s health tremendously.

In addition to wellness exams, preventative medicine will also help your pet live a longer and healthier life. The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true for pets as well as people! For example, annual vaccinations and monthly heartworm and flea & tick medication can prevent many of the common diseases your pet could contract.

Unfortunately, many life-threatening diseases for pets are very common in Texas. Heartworm disease is often deadly to both dogs and cats. Pets should be on heartworm prevention year-round. Canine parvovirus, feline leukemia and leptospirosis are other serious pet diseases common in Texas that can be easily prevented with vaccinations.

At Spring Branch Veterinary Hospital we understand the strong bond between you and your pet. We practice preventative medicine to help your pet live a longer, happier, healthier life – and to bring peace of mind to you.