Annual exams for your dog or cat allow your veterinarian to monitor your pet's health, check for early signs of disease, and provide preventive treatments to help protect your pet against potentially life-threatening conditions. Today our Fremont vets explain the benefits of preventive care for pets.
Why book a dog checkup or cat checkup if my pet seems healthy?
Preventive care is all about keeping your pet healthy and providing the care they require to give them the best chance of living a long and happy life. Preventive care for pets begins with annual or twice-yearly wellness exams, depending on your dog's or cat's needs.
These regular examinations are vet checkups for your cherished four-legged companion.
Even if your dog or cat appears to be in perfect health, bringing them to the veterinarian allows your team of veterinary professionals to monitor their health, check for early signs of disease, and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your dog or cat looking and feeling their best.
Catching health issues including parasites, ear infections, or gastrointestinal 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?
Most dogs and cats should have annual checkups, according to our veterinarians. However, each pet is unique and has unique needs, especially as they grow older. As a result, the frequency of your pet's checkups will be determined by his or her age and medical history.
Adult pets can easily resist health conditions that puppies and kittens are susceptible to. This is also true for geriatric or senior pets. To give your puppy/kitten the best start in life, you should bring them in for a checkup much more frequently (every month for puppies and kittens under a year old). Geriatric pets should be groomed twice a year, or more if necessary.
What's involved in a vet checkup for dogs and cats?
When you bring your fur baby into our Fremont animal clinic for a checkup, our vets will review their medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
In some cases, we may have requested a sample of your pet's stool to perform a fecal exam. We'll take that sample and look for signs of common intestinal parasites, which would otherwise be difficult to detect.
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
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- 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
All of these tests are designed to look for signs of any health issues your pet might be having. Because our dogs and cats can't tell us when they're in pain, these tests and checks can help you figure out how your pet is feeling in general.
What about getting my pet their shots?
Vaccines are meant to protect your dog or cat from diseases that are common, contagious, and potentially fatal. Vaccines for your dog or cat will be recommended based on your location 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 check out our vaccine schedule.
Adult pets will need to be given 'booster shots' regularly to maintain their disease resistance. Boosters are usually given once every three years or once every year. When your dog or cat's booster shots are due, your veterinarian will notify you.
Does my pet need parasite prevention?
Parasites can be dangerous to Fremont pets' health. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can infect your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, which is why your veterinarian will advise you on how to keep parasites from invading your pet. It's also important to remember that some parasites can be passed from pets to their caring owners!
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Is preventive care expensive?
Compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders, or diseases, (especially heartworm) regularly scheduled wellness exams will save you money.
Not only that, but they'll make sure your pet is in as little pain as possible as a result of any health problems they're having. A medical problem can be diagnosed and treated more quickly if it is discovered early on.
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.