Pet at the vet.

Getting an annual check-up is an important part of taking care of your cat or dog even if your pet seems healthy. Just like with humans, the absence of an illness does not always equal wellness. The goals of preventive care are to maintain your animal’s health, prevent illness, and detect problems early. This checklist will give you an idea about the import parts of annual pet wellness exams:

1.  Vital signs

These measurements are called vital signs because they measure the body’s most basic functions. For animals, this includes heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate. These are taken at every veterinary visit to ensure there are no signs of a deeper issue.

2.  Physical exam

A comprehensive exam is the foundation of any check-up. Your vet will examine your furry family member from nose-to-tail, including skin, eyes, ears, nose, face, mouth, and teeth. By looking for unusual bumps, sores, or spots of concern, vet staff can find little things before they become big problems. A neurological exam assesses your pet’s nerve function and mental state. Tracking weight over time also gives an indicator of your pet’s health.

3.  Blood, urine and fecal testing

These tests give an overall indication of how the immune system and organs such as bladder and kidneys are functioning. They also screen for specific concerns, like diabetes or parasites. Certain parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, and giardia, can be passed from pets to humans.

4.  Parasite prevention

As with most health issues, prevention is preferable to treatment, and fortunately, parasite prevention is fairly easy. Nearly all common parasites can be controlled with monthly preventives. Given orally, topically or by injection, there are several options to prevent fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, and heartworm.

5.  Vaccinations

Puppies and kittens require a number of vaccinations in the first year. Adult animals also benefit from vaccinations at regular intervals. Some vaccines are considered essential, like rabies and distemper. Others may be recommended based on lifestyle and risk factors, such as bordetella, leptosprirosis, and lyme.

The biggest key to a successful annual check-up is good communication between the pet owner and the vet. Be sure to bring up any health concerns or questions at the beginning of the visit, and discuss any findings, follow-up, or changes recommended to keep your cuddly critters healthy all year long.  

Contact us at Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center the next time your pet needs a wellness check. We can’t wait to partner with you toward better health for your pets!