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Be Pet Smart: Take your pet to the vet twice a year!

Aug 17

Categories: Blog

Wellness examinations for your pet is the number one way you and your veterinarian can be proactive to protect your furry family members.  We, as the animal health care team, often get asked "why does my pet need a wellness examination or evaluation?" And the answer is simple: our pets can't always tell us in words how they're feeling: yes, they may "talk" to us in different ways and the number one resource is the pet's family who knows them best but...

Just like your family doctor there are questions to be asked and history to be recorded. Your veterinarian is interested in knowing as much about your pet as possible. We rely on a thorough physical examination to determine if your pet is truly healthy. We may need blood or other body fluid samples for baseline and /or monitoring illness or medication responses. Problems can quickly turn into serious pet illnesses. And because your pets age differently and relatively more quickly, we feel that twice a year seems a good interval for protective pet care.

So, let us be the other family doctor and let's review what will happen in a pet wellness examination. The veterinary team whether it be the veterinary receptionists, the veterinary nurse: sometimes called a vet tech and the vet will ask questions and take notes (now in electronic medical record format).  So, should we need to retrieve these answers and findings at any time we can whether throughout the animal hospital, from home, for specialty veterinarian referral or even in an emergency situation for the 24 hour veterinary hospital emergency veterinarian.

We'll record 5 vital signs: temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, pain assesment score and diet: every pet every time. We'll want to know about who shares the home: both human and of course other pets.  We'll ask about the pet meds your pet takes.  Your veterinary health team will want to discuss flea and tick control as well as intestinal parasite concerns and recommend protocols to prevent and protect your pets. We'll look into their eyes: window to the soul anyone? Look and likely smell their ears.  Flip those lips and check those choppers as well as smell that breath to make recommendations for home dental care vs. professional dental cleanings. The skin is the largest body organ so we'll ask about lumps and bumps, rashes and hair loss and how often you can or want to bathe your dog (or cat) and how we can help with our groom service. We'll talk about aging and what expectations in behavior and health care we can anticipate. Some breeds are prone to developmental and inherited diseases: we'll try to determine the mix in the mixed breed with our Wisdom MX panel test for important genetic markers. For the reproductive system we will explain that spaying and neutering provides many more benefits beyond birth control and disease and certain cancer prevention.

And, we want to appropriately vaccinate our pets now, not over vaccinate so your pet's risk factors will be taken into consideration. A medically tailored pet vaccine program will be spaced through the year to properly immunize against preventable pet diseases. So how often your pet gets vaccinated depends on many factors including breed, age, and lifestyle. Not all pets get all vaccinations: you will have a discussion with us as to what's best for your pet.

So don't underestimate the important well pet exam and evaluation. And, don't forget about pet insurance: a very important policy to have in place when the unexpected pet illness or accident happens. We want to help your pet live a long and healthy life: and your animal health care team wants to be your pet's second best friends! Come in and see us "furr" a while... your pets will be glad you did.