In their first year or so, pets visit the vet more often to establish overall wellness. They are vaccinated to prevent disease, microchipped, spayed or neutered, and given medication to guard against internal and external parasites. The resulting picture of absolute health can make it seem unnecessary to keep up with routine pet wellness exams. But the best time to take your pet to the vet is when they are feeling their best. Why? Because pet wellness hinges on prevention.
Just Like Us
The foundation of overall, lifelong pet wellness is initiated in the first years of an animal’s life. Just as we commit to annual physicals or dental cleanings, pets need regular attention. Without this proactive approach, health issues can gain a foothold and threaten longevity and quality of life.
Given the opportunity to record normal, or baseline, values, your pet’s veterinarian can track any changes in the future that can lead to early diagnosis – and a better outcome.
Cause and Effect
Catching problems before they develop can save your pet’s life (and a significant amount of your own time and money). Early detection of disease can lead to easier, more affordable treatment and decreases the chances of debilitating pain and suffering.
Speaking of pain, animals – especially cats – are hardwired to mask any signs of weakness. If your pet is ill or injured, they may not show their symptoms to you before it’s too late.
Elements of a Pet Wellness Exam
Open channels of communication are essential between pet owners and veterinarians. Younger pets are typically seen once a year, whereas aging or senior animals should be taken in two times annually for exams that include attention to:
- Weight – Obesity can lead to many other health conditions, such as heart disease and osteoarthritis. Your pet’s vet will focus on the products your pet receives, portions, and the ways they burn calories.
- Diet and age-appropriate nutritional needs – Similarly, food that is appropriate for growing pets doesn’t address the needs of aging ones. Knowing what products are best for every life stage is critical.
- Behavior – Some pets need more help than others in the discipline and obedience departments, but even slight shifts in an animal’s behavior patterns can signal health problems that shouldn’t be ignored.
- Dental health – One of the most common diagnoses in pets older than 3 years old is dental disease. Entirely preventable, dental disease can damage the heart and kidneys, cause terrible breath, and diminish quality of life.
- Skin and coat – Giving your pet’s fur coat careful consideration can reveal certain issues, and keep you rpet looking and feeling good.
It isn’t always clear when to seek emergency care. The good news is that when you commit to preventive care, any developing problems can be dealt with before they get out of control. Between your excellent care at home, and your vet’s professional recommendations, your pet can maintain excellent health for years to come.
If you have any questions about our referral process, please feel free to contact us at Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center. Be well!