Bringing your dog in for their annual routine wellness exam allows your vet to check up on their health, to check for the early signs of disease and offer preventive treatments that can help to protect your pet against possible life-threatening conditions. Here, our Hermitage vets explain the benefits of providing preventive care for dogs.
Why should I bring my pet to the vet if they seem healthy?
preventive healthcare is about maintaining your pet's good health and making sure that they have the care they need to get their best possible chance of living a long, happy and healthy life. Preventive care for pets begins with routine wellness exams once or twice each year depending on the needs of your dog.
These routine exams are physical checkups for your pet.
By bringing your dog in to see your vet, even when they seem very healthy, you give your vet a chance to monitor your pet's health, to check for signs of disease in their early stages, and provide preventive care like vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your dog looking and feeling their best.
Catching health issues like parasites, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues early, before obvious symptoms appear, means that treatment can begin early when it is most effective.
How often do I need to bring my pet in for preventive care?
Our vets recommend annually administered wellness exams for most dogs, however, each pet is different and has different needs at different stages of their life. And because of that, the recommended frequency for your four-legged friend will depend on your pet's age and their medical history.
Puppies, for example, can be susceptible to health conditions that are easily resisted by adult pets. This is likewise true for senior or geriatric pets. You should bring your puppy in for a checkup much more frequently to give them the very best start in life, (every month for puppies under a year old). For geriatric pets, twice a year or more if needed is recommended.
What's involved in a routine wellness exam?
When you bring your fur-baby into our Hermitage veterinary clinic for a checkup, our vets will review their medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
In some instances, we will have asked you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order to do a fecal exam. We will take that sample and examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites which would be very difficult to detect otherwise.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your dog which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
All of these tests are meant to detect signs of any health problems your canine companion may be experiencing. Since our dogs can't tell us when they are uncomfortable, these tests and checks help to determine how your furry friend is generally feeling.
What about getting my pet their shots?
Vaccinations are designed to protect your dog against contagious and common diseases that may even become life-threatening. The vaccines recommended for your dog will be based on where you live and your pet's lifestyle.
Core vaccines for dogs are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for dogs that are regularly in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet checkout our vaccine schedule.
Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots' on a regular basis in order to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases, boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your vet will be sure to let you know when your dog's booster shots are due.
Does my pet really need parasite prevention?
Parasites can be a serious health threat to Hermitage pets. Mosquitos and ticks carry parasites that can invade your pooch's body and cause potentially fatal condition. Because of this, your vet will recommend ways for you to prevent parasites from affecting your four-legged friend in the first place.
It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Is preventive care expensive?
When compared to the treatment of advanced forms of conditions, diseases and disorders, routinely scheduled wellness exams and preventive medications will save you money.
Not only that, but they will make sure your dog experiences a minimal amount of discomfort or pain from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
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.