A great way to maintain your pet’s wellness is to bring them to your veterinarian for a checkup. We recommend pet parents bring their pet in for a wellness exam once a year. Animals naturally try to hide pain as a natural response to protect themselves from predators. For this reason, it is essential to have them checked even if they appear to be healthy.
The Wellness Exam Procedure
During the exam, we will inspect your pet from nose to tail. You should make sure to mention any concerns you may have regarding changes in your pet’s normal behavior or temperament. A change in your pet’s daily habits could be the first sign of an underlying disease or condition that requires attention or treatment. We will examine your pet’s ears for redness, itchiness, or any other problems.
We will also examine your pet’s fur and skin for hair loss, pigment changes, lumps, itchy spots, or excessive shedding. Be sure to mention if your animal is chewing or licking any area on its body.
Be sure to mention any concerns with your pet’s breathing or if he is coughing, sneezing, has nasal discharge, or has shortness of breath. We will listen to his heart and lungs during the exam for any potential problems.
Wellness checks are also a great time to check that your pet is up to date on all of its needed vaccinations. For dogs, we recommend yearly vaccinations against rabies and distemper/parvovirus/leptospirosis. Bordetella is strongly encouraged for pups that frequently come into contact with other dogs, such as those who go to a groomer or boarding kennel. Dogs also need to be tested yearly for heartworms and internal parasites.
For felines, we recommend vaccinations against rabies, feline distemper, and feline leukemia. Depending on how much exposure your cat has to the outdoors, we may also recommend intestinal parasite screenings.
Heartworm Testing for Dogs
Heartworm disease is a severe disease and leads to death if untreated, another critical reason for an annual wellness check. Our veterinarians recommend monthly prevention against heartworms in addition to internal and external parasites.
Wellness checks are even more important for senior pets. As pets age, they can become more prone to health issues. Heart disease, cancer, joint problems, etc., become much more common in older pets. Generally, once a pet reaches over the age of 7, you should have them examined at least twice yearly.
With wellness checks, you can prevent your pet from having an illness go undetected and developing into its later stages. The earlier we diagnose a problem, the better chance of a rapid and successful recovery. Wellness checks are a way you can be proactive about your pet’s health. Schedule your pet’s wellness exam today!
Dr. Stacey Funderburk
Nokomis Veterinary Service