Every responsible pet parent knows to take their beloved pet to the vet when he or she becomes ill or injured. However, it is also important for your dog or cat to have regular annual check-ups, even when your pet seems apparently healthy. Spending the time and money to provide routine wellness care for your pet will actually end up saving you money in the long run, as your vet can detect a developing health issue before it becomes a serious problem. Dogs and cats are good at hiding illnesses and pain, so a regular veterinary exam can identify problems before you may even be aware that anything is wrong.
Healthy adult pets should have a yearly wellness exam. For senior pets, or pets with special medical issues, more frequent exams may be necessary. Many people think that an annual exam is primarily for the purpose of vaccinations for their pet. However, your veterinarian will likely conduct a thorough physical exam including checking the teeth, ears, eyes, abdomen, skin and coat, checking for parasites, and listening to your pet’s heart and lungs. Your vet may also recommend diagnostic blood work to check the functioning of your pet’s internal organs.
After your pet’s first routine exam, your vet will have a baseline for your pet, so it will be easy to identify changes. Your pet can’t tell you that he or she is not feeling in the best of health. It is up to us as responsible pet owners to be proactive to ensure our pets stay happy and healthy.