At Animal Medical Clinic, we know that your pet is a valuable part of your family, and keeping them healthy is our top priority. Ensuring your pet sees a veterinarian at least once a year is the best form of preventative medicine!
Annual exams allow the veterinarian to keep detailed medical records from year to year. Any changes in activity, attitude, eating and drinking, urination, defecation, etc- are noted and may be investigated further with diagnostic tests if the veterinarian is concerned. Vaccines are kept up-to-date with regular visits, reducing the chance of your pet contracting a communicable disease. Heartworm tests or feline leukemia/feline immunodeficiency virus tests can be performed at the time of exam and results obtained in the same day.
Since owners see their pets every day, some changes can be less obvious at home, such as weight gain and dental disease. These areas progress slowly, but over the course of the year, can become significant.
Obesity in pets has reached epidemic proportions. Oftentimes people think their dog or cat is ‘cute’ when overweight. Unfortunately, dogs and cats suffer tremendously when obese. Health problems such as diabetes and arthritis are the most common side effects of excessive weight. In cats, a life-threatening metabolic condition called hepatic lipidosis may develop which can be extremely difficult to treat. Carrying more weight than the body is equipped to handle, puts strain on the heart, lungs, and joints, reducing the longevity of your pet. Annual exams help keep a record of your pets’ weight, and if obesity becomes a problem a veterinarian can suggest ways to get your pet back in shape through diet and exercise.
Dental disease is another serious health problem of pets that too often goes unnoticed. Dental tartar and gingivitis create pain and inflammation in the mouth. Owners generally assume if their pet is eating, their teeth must be fine. However, cats and dogs will endure severe oral pain in order to eat. In diseased mouths, bacteria can shed to the heart, liver, and kidneys causing severe systemic illnesses. At an annual exam teeth and gums are evaluated. If a dental cleaning is indicated, an estimate for cost can be printed out and explained in detail.
Screening tests can also be discussed at annual visits. Fecal exams to screen for internal parasites are recommended on a yearly basis. Blood work such as a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry, and thyroid level for pets over 5 years old may help identify certain diseases early – such as kidney disease, liver disease, hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism, and even certain types of cancer.
Yearly visits to the veterinarian cannot be emphasized enough in adult animals. Addressing potential problem areas early can add years to your pets’ life, ensuring they are around longer for you to love and pamper!