Regular vet exams are crucial for pets as they help detect signs of illness and serious conditions, such as internal damage, that require immediate attention. Our vets, located across Clarksville, emphasize the significance of routine veterinary checkups to ensure the well-being of your furry friends.
Why are routine vet checkups essential?
To keep your furry friend in tip-top shape, it's important to bring them in for a cat or dog checkup with your veterinarian once or twice a year - even if they appear healthy. These regular exams allow your vet to assess your pet's overall health and check for any potential illnesses or diseases that may be difficult to spot in the early stages (such as parasites or cancers).
Catching these issues early can prevent them from becoming more serious down the road. During a checkup, your vet aims to prevent health problems from arising when possible while identifying and treating any disease symptoms as quickly and effectively as possible.
How often should my pet go for a vet checkup?
Your pet's vet checkup frequency depends on their age and medical history. To maintain your pet's good health, taking them for a vet checkup twice a year is advisable if they've had past illnesses but are currently doing well. Your vet can suggest how frequently your pet should come in for a routine physical exam after assessing them. When it comes to young pets like kittens and puppies, their immune systems are still developing, and they're more vulnerable to various illnesses that adult pets can easily fight off.
That's why it's recommended to schedule monthly checkups for the first few months of your pet's life. Typically, adult cats and dogs with no illness history should have a yearly vet checkup. However, senior cats, dogs, and giant breed dogs are at higher risk of many conditions and should be monitored for early signs of illness more frequently. Therefore, bringing your pet in for a vet checkup twice a year is recommended in such cases.
How to Prepare
While you will walk away from your pet's cat or dog exam with valuable information, you'll also need to bring some important data with you. Your vet will need this basic medical information about your dog or cat, especially if this will be your pet's first visit. Bring notes on your pets:
- Past medical records, including vaccine history
- Toilet habits
- Current medications (names and doses)
- Food (what kind do they eat?)
- Eating and drinking habits
- Recent travel history
- Tick bites
You might also want to bring a favorite toy or blanket to comfort your pet. While dogs should be on a. leash, cats should be in a carrier.
Here's a list of questions for vets that you may ask
When taking your pet to the vet for a wellness exam, it is essential to ask the right questions. to ensure that your furry friend is in excellent health.
Here are some of the top questions to ask your vet during a wellness exam:
- How is my pet's weight?
- Are they at a healthy weight range for their breed and age?
- What is the best diet for my pet's age, breed, and medical history?
- How often should my pet exercise, and what kind of exercise is best for them?
- What vaccines does my pet need, and how often should they receive them?
- Can I take any preventative measures to keep my pet healthy and avoid potential health issues?
- What should I do if I notice any changes in my pet's behavior or appetite?
- How often should I bring my pet in for a wellness exam, based on their age and medical history?
- Is my pet's dental health good, or do they need any dental treatments or cleanings?
- Are there any warning signs or red flags I should look out for that indicate my pet may be unwell?
- Do you recommend additional tests or screenings for my pet based on age or breed?
What does a checkup for pets involve?
When you visit the vet with your furry friend, the veterinarian will go through your pet’s medical history and ask if you have any worries or issues. They will also ask about your pet’s lifestyle, including diet, exercise, thirst, bowel movements, and urination. If necessary, you may be requested to provide a fresh fecal sample for testing, which can identify problematic intestinal parasites that might be challenging to detect otherwise.
Next, the vet will physically examine your pet. While this will usually cover the following points, the vet may take time to do more depending on your pet’s needs:
- Measuring your pet’s gait, stance, and weight
- Using a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s lungs and heart
- Looking into the eyes for signs of cloudiness, discharge, excessive tearing, cloudiness or redness. Will also look for issues with eyelids
- Checking for any signs of illness by feeling along your pet’s body (palpating). These symptoms include lameness or limited range of motion, or signs of swelling or pain.
- Feeling the abdomen to check whether internal organs appear normal, and to check for signs of pain or discomfort.
- Checking your pet’s nails and feet for signs of significant health concerns or damage
- Examining your pet’s ears for signs of wax buildup, polyps, ear mites or bacterial infection
- Inspecting the condition of the teeth for any indications of decay, damage or periodontal disease
- Examining your furry companion’s coat to assess overall condition, as well as look for signs of abnormal hair loss or dandruff
- Inspecting your cat’s or dog’s skin for numerous issues — from bumps or lumps (especially in folds of skin) to dryness and parasites
If no issues are detected along the way, your vet can likely run through this list quickly and seamlessly — they may even chat with you as they do so. If an issue is identified, your vet will explain what they have noticed and recommend next steps or potential treatments.
Annual vaccinations are also administered during a cat or dog checkup, based on your animal’s appropriate schedule.
Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Pets
The vet may also recommend additional wellness testing along with the basic checkup exam points we list above. Remember that in many cases, early detection and treatment of disease is less expensive and less invasive than treating the condition once it has become more advanced.
Tests for blood count, thyroid hormone testing, and a urinalysis may be done, in addition to diagnostic testing such as X-rays and imaging.
Ending the Vet Checkup
After your pet has gone through a thorough check-up, including tests and vaccines, your vet will take time to discuss the results with you. If there are any indications of illness or injury, the vet will suggest further testing or treatments to assist your pet. However, if your pet is in good health, the vet will suggest ways to enhance their diet and exercise routine, provide advice on maintaining their oral hygiene, and ensure proper prevention of parasites.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.