As pet owners, we know our pets better than anyone else. We’re familiar with their daily routine, habits, likes, and dislikes, and it can seem like we’ve memorized every whisker, strand of fur, and precious paw pad. However, even the most astute pet parent can’t detect health problems that lurk beneath the surface.
How are you to know when your pet’s liver or kidneys aren’t functioning properly? How do you know whether their joints are beginning to feel the effects of arthritis? That’s where annual pet wellness exams come in!
Pet Wellness Exams 101
Seeing your pet when they’re healthy lets us know what’s “normal” for them, allowing us to spot developing issues more quickly. Along with thoroughly reviewing their health history and performing a nose-to-tail examination, the following areas of pet wellness will also be assessed:
- Dental health – 85% of cats and dogs have some form of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Left untreated, dental disease can lead to significant pain, tooth loss, and eventually widespread organ damage and decreased longevity. After an oral examination, your veterinarian will make recommendations regarding at-home and professional dental care.
- Weight management – Obesity is a rapidly growing problem among U.S. pets, so assessing your pet’s weight and nutritional health is a critical component of pet wellness. Likewise, a sudden change in weight can indicate an underlying health issue. Your veterinarian will work closely with you to achieve and maintain your pet’s optimal weight.
- Disease prevention – Administration of vaccines and parasite prevention (such as flea, tick, and heartworm) will take place during your pet’s exam. By discussing your pet’s lifestyle and specific risks, you and your veterinarian will develop the best plan to protect your pet.
- Behavioral concerns – Behavioral problems in pets are stressful for the whole family, and the wellness exam is the perfect opportunity for you to discuss these issues with your veterinarian.
- Overall monitoring – Because many pets are predisposed to certain medical problems due to age, breed, or size, the annual wellness exam is important for keeping close tabs on their health as the years go by.