Annual vet exams for your pet allow your vet to track your pet's health, check for early symptoms of disease, and provide appropriate preventive care protecting your pet against life-threatening illnesses. Today our Thornton vets explain why routine exams are so important to your pet's health.
Why book a dog or cat checkup if my pet seems healthy?
Preventative care focuses on protecting your pet's health and providing the care they need to provide them with the best possible chance at a long healthy life. Preventative care for your cat or dog starts with routine exams that can either be annually or twice a year depending on your pet's specific needs.
These routine exams are quick vet checkups for your four-legged friend.
Booking your cat or dog checkup, even if they seem perfectly healthy, allows your team of veterinary professionals the opportunity to track any changes in your pet's health, check for the earliest signs of diseases, and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your dog or cat looking and feeling they're very best.
Catching health issues including parasites, ear infections, or skin and coat issues early, before obvious symptoms appear, means that treatment can begin early when it is most effective.
How often should I need to bring my pet in for a checkup?
Our vets recommend annual exams for most dogs and cats. However, each pet is different and has different needs - especially as they age. Depending on your pet's medical history, the frequency of checkups could increase as they get older.
Puppies and kittens can become ill from common health conditions that adult pets tend to fight off easier. This is also true for senior or geriatric pets. You should bring your puppy/kitten in for checkups frequently to give them the very best start in life, (every month for puppies and kittens under a year old). For geriatric pets, twice a year or more if needed is recommended.
What's involved in a vet checkup for dogs and cats?
When you bring your pet to our Thornton animal clinic for a checkup, our vets will review their medical history and ask you if you have any concerns about your pet's health.
In some instances, we will have asked you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order to do a fecal exam. We will take that sample and examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites which would be very difficult to detect otherwise.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
These tests are used to detect signs of any health problems your pet could have. These tests help us determine how your pet is feeling since they can't tell us themselves.
What about getting my pet their shots?
Vaccines are designed to protect your dog or cat against common, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. The vaccines recommended for your dog or cat will differ based on where you live and your pet's lifestyle.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet checkout our vaccine schedule.
Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots' on a regular basis in order to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your vet will be sure to let you know when your dog or cat's booster shots are due.
Does my pet really need parasite prevention?
Parasites are a real health threat to Thornton pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can invade your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, that's why your vet will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your four-legged friend. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Is preventive care expensive?
When you compare the cost of treating advanced diseases (especially heartworm), annual checkups for you cat or dog save you money in the long run.
Not only that, but they will make sure your pet experiences a minimal amount of discomfort or pain from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.