Are Wellness Exams Necessary?
If your dog doesn’t seem sick, why take her to the vet? Is it really necessary to schedule routine checkups for a pet that seems perfectly healthy?
Quite simply, the answer is: Yes. It is essential to take your pet in for routine wellness exams, even for an animal that seems to be in great health. Here are some reasons why.
Discover Risk Factors
A routine wellness visit includes a thorough physical exam where your vet may make notes, ask questions, and record statistics about your pet. The vet will check the animal’s fur, skin, eyes, ears, mouth, and paws, and take its weight and temperature.
The vet is trained to notice things that pet owners might overlook. For example, did you know that weight gain can disguise inflammation, an underlying condition for diseases like cancer? Without a vet’s routine exam, you might assume Fido just gained a few pounds.
Here are some routine questions vets often ask:
- How long you've had your pet
- Where your pet came from
- Which other animals you have in your household
- Whether the pet goes outside
- What the pet eats and drinks, including brand names
- Description of bowel movements
- Types of toys offered
- Whether you are giving supplements
- Whether you travel with your pet
- If your pet is exposed to toxins like cleaners, smoke, heavy metals and pesticides
- How your pet’s behavior has been
Get Preventive Treatments
Wellness checkups are an excellent opportunity to get routine treatments for your pet that protect their long-term health. This preventive care can stop health problems from flaring up in the future. Your vet will likely recommend treatments for heartworm, fleas, and ticks, plus vaccinations.
It’s also a good time to discuss nutrition and dental care, which can change over time as your pet ages. The food your pet ate 5 years ago might not still be right for its aging body. Or perhaps dental disease is beginning to develop.
Tracking Over Time
As your vet does additional wellness exams over time, a more complete picture of overall health emerges. A pattern of gradual weight gain or hair loss might become more obvious. The vet may do blood work or ask you to gather a stool sample. Any health issues can be addressed.
A wellness appointment is also a great time to ask your vet if there are any lifestyle goals you should be setting for your pet. Common goals include getting more exercise, avoiding table scraps, providing high-quality food, and getting lots of bonding time with the family. There may also be other goals specific to your pet’s health situation.
So try to view wellness exams as an opportunity, not a hassle. They’re the best way to head off problems and promote a long, healthy life for your beloved pet.
Need a wellness visit? Contact Academy Animal Hospital for an appointment today.