One of the trickiest things about pet ownership is the fact that our pets can’t tell us if there is anything wrong. Instead they rely on us to pick up on clues from their behavior. Unfortunately, unless the behavior is extremely obvious, some of the telltale signs and symptoms of injury or illness can go unnoticed, which can leave our pet in discomfort.
As responsible pet owners, we want to do everything possible to help our animals live long, happy and healthy lives. One of the best ways in which we can do this is by ensuring that we take them to their annual veterinary check-up.
An annual examination is the perfect opportunity for your veterinarian to do a complete check of your pet’s health. This will usually begin with weighing them and checking their temperature, which for dogs and cats should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also expect your vet to perform a check on your pet’s lungs and heart using a stethoscope. Breathing should be clear and the heart rate should be steady and strong. The vet will also palpate your pet’s stomach to check that internal organs are a regular size and appear healthy.
Your vet will then undertake a total visual inspection of your animal. This will involve looking at their eyes, skin and coat, which are the usual areas that would indicate good or poor health. They can then compare your pet’s current condition with the findings from the previous year to see if there are any changes that cause concern.
Your vet will also check your pet’s ear. This is especially important for dog breeds which have floppy ears as they can trap bacteria and leave your pet prone to infection and other recurring problems.
Finally, an examination of your animal’s mouth and teeth is necessary to check for dental problems including decay, periodontal disease and loose teeth.
An annual check-up is also a perfect opportunity for you to speak to your vet about any concerns that you may have about your pet, or anything that you have noticed that is out of the ordinary. For example, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, coughing or wheezing.
Once your vet has confirmed that your pet is in good health, or has recommended any further scans or treatments that they feel will be beneficial, your vet will likely speak to you about vaccinations and preventative medicines. These may include annual boosters, heartworm medications and flea/tick treatments.
The main purpose of an annual veterinary visit is to ensure the good health of your pet. Veterinarians are specially trained to be able to spot potential medical problems early. For many conditions, the earlier that treatment is started, the faster and better your pet’s recovery will be. Early treatments can also be substantially less expensive than ones that are needed once conditions progress. By catching any potential problems early, you can also help protect your pet from some of the later symptoms of the condition that has been identified – potentially saving them from pain and debilitation.
Your veterinarian will also be able to talk to you about your pet’s current care, and make any recommendations that they feel would be beneficial. At the forefront of their industry, they are the experts who have the latest information about the care of domestic animals. Therefore, they will be able to let you know about new products and treatments, meaning you can be sure that you are doing everything possible to give your pet the care and attention that they deserve.