Wellness checkups are critical to your pet's health and well-being. These exams allow your veterinarian a chance to monitor your pet's overall health and detect early signs of illness. Today, our Farmington Hills vets describe what you can expect when your four-legged friend visits us for a pet checkup.
My pet looks healthy. Why should I book a checkup?
We recommend bringing your pet in to your Farmington Hills veterinarian for a wellness exam or checkup on a regular basis. Even if your puppy or kitten appears to be perfectly healthy, this visit should take place on a regular basis — once or twice yearly — to ensure your pet really is as healthy as they may look.
By bringing your healthy pet in to see the vet regularly, you'll allow the veterinarian a chance to monitor your pet's general health and obtain a baseline on their medical status/data in preparation for when they do become sick or injured. The vet will also check for diseases that can be difficult to detect in their early stages. (such as tumors, masses, parasites or cancers), but that will benefit from early treatment.
The purpose of this regularly scheduled veterinary appointment is two-fold: to prevent health issues where possible and to identify potential early signs of disease so our qualified team can treat them before they develop into more serious health issues.
How often should my pet have a routine checkup?
The answer to this question will vary depending on your pet's previous medical history and age.
Puppies and kittens may be susceptible to many illnesses that adult pets with more robust immune systems can easily fight off or overcome. For this reason, your vet may suggest booking a puppy or kitten checkup every month for the first few months.
If your pet has been ill in the past but is presently healthy, we recommend seeing your vet two times a year or more to get a clean bill of health for your feline or canine friend.
For adult dogs and cats with no history of illness, we typically recommend they come in for an annual checkup and wellness exams.
Keep in mind that some pets such as senior cats and dogs, along with giant breeds, have a higher risk of developing many conditions or illnesses and should attend a cat or dog checkup more often to check for early signs of illness. In these cases, routine exams every six months are a good idea. Ask your veterinarian how often you should schedule routine exams for your pet based on their specific circumstances.
What will my vet look for during a routine checkup?
When your pet comes in for a routine exam, your vet will review your furry friend's medical history and check with you about any concerns you may have. He or she will also ask about your pet's diet, behavior, urination, bowel movements, thirst level and other important elements of their lifestyle.
You may also be asked to collect and bring in a fresh sample of your pet's feces (bowel movement) to the exam appointment so the vet can perform a fecal exam. These fecal exams help your veterinarian identify problematic intestinal parasites in your pet's body that may otherwise be difficult to detect.
Next, the vet will conduct a nose-to-tail physical examination of your pet. This will include feeling along the body for signs of pain, checking the teeth, skin and coat for signs of conditions or disease and palpating the abdomen to look for signs of discomfort or abnormalities in the organs.
If your vet does not detect any issues along the way, this list of checks can usually be done quickly and seamlessly. Your vet may even carry a conversation with you as they examine your pup or kitty. If an issue does come up, they will take the time to explain what they have noticed, then recommend the next steps or possible treatments.
Annual vaccinations will also be given during your pet's wellness exam, based upon the appropriate schedule for your animal.
Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Pets
As well as the basic examination points listed above, your vet may also recommend additional wellness testing. When deciding whether your pet should have additional testing it's important to keep in mind that in many cases early detection and treatment of disease is less expensive and less invasive than treating the condition once it has reached more advanced stages.
The following tests screen for a range of conditions and can help detect the very earliest signs of illness before symptoms appear:
- Thyroid hormone testing
- Complete blood count (CDC)
If your pet is a senior animal or a giant breed dog, more detailed diagnostic testing may also be recommended including X-Rays and other imaging.
Finishing The Wellness Checkup
Once the examination and testing is complete, and your pet has been given their annual vaccines, your vet will take the time to discuss their findings with you.
If any signs of illness or injury have been detected along the way, your veterinarian will talk with you about more detailed diagnostics or available treatment options.
If your pet is generally healthy the discussion might focus on diet and exercise improvements, caring for your pet's oral health, and essentials such as appropriate parasite prevention for your pet.
Wellness checkups at Angel Animal Hospital
When you bring your cat or dog in for a routine checkup at Angel Animal Hospital, our qualified vets are able to get to know your pet, and identify and prevent health issues from arising for your pet in the first place. We can manage emerging health issues when they are most treatable and develop a personalized treatment plan for your four-legged friend.
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.