Pet wellness care involves much more than making sure that your pet is healthy right now. Wellness checkups are the most effective way to track your pet’s health over time and through the various stages of their life. This process allows TLC Animal Hospital in Inverness, FL to potentially spot major health problems early in your pet when intervention has the best chance of success. Here’s some information on why pet wellness care should be a regular part of life for you and your dog or cat.
The Pet Wellness Exam
A pet wellness exam is similar to a “physical” for your pet. For most dogs and cats, once per year is frequent enough to track any major changes in their health. However, depending on your pet’s age, breed, and other factors, we may recommend more frequent checkups. More health problems tend to set in for senior pets, for example, so we might recommend checkups twice per year for those animals.
During a routine wellness exam, the veterinarian will examine the following things about your pet:
- Teeth and gums
- Skin and coat
- Listen to lungs & heart for abnormalities
- Bones and joint function
- And more!
These are all non-invasive tests that give the veterinarian a good sense of your pet’s overall health. The vet will ask questions about your pet’s diet, activity levels and exercise, and your pet’s behavior. Sometimes behavioral changes can indicate an unseen health problem. This is also a great time to ask your vet any specific questions you have about your pet’s health and well-being.
Some baseline lab testing can also give a sense of your pet’s overall health, and screen for potential problems. Fecal testing, urine samples, and blood work are some additional tests that are not required every year but will come up at some point during your pet’s life. These tests allow us to screen for intestinal parasites, check kidney and liver function, test for cancer antibodies, and other important things. As we mentioned above, early detection leads to the best outcomes if your pet does become sick!
Annual pet wellness care also allows you to keep your pet up-to-date on core vaccines for their species. Pet dental care may be required if the vet spots a problem with your pet’s teeth. And wellness care also involves nutritional planning; as your pet ages, or if they develop certain health problems, their diet may need some changes.