Preventive care is important for every pet in order to keep them happy and healthy before issues arise. Our Lithia Springs vets explain why preventive care is so crucial, as well as what illnesses and diseases can be avoided.
Why Preventive Care is Necessary
The goal of preventative care is to maintain your pet's health and to provide them with the care they need. In doing so, you give your companion their best chance at a long, healthy, and happy life. Preventative care begins with routine prevention exams, scheduled either once or twice per year depending on your dog's unique needs.
These routine exams are physical checkups for your pet which can help your vet detect any issues before they turn into an emergency.
By bringing your pet in to see a vet, even when they appear to be perfectly healthy, you are allowing your veterinary team to check in on and monitor your pet's health over time and diagnose and treat medical issues early and at their most treatable. It also allows us to provide preventative care like parasite treatments and vaccinations to keep your pet feeling their best.
Identifying health issues such as ear infections, gastrointestinal parasites, or cancer before their obvious symptoms appear means that treatment can begin when it is most effective.
Preventive Care Appointment Frequency
It is advised to bring your pet in for yearly routine wellness exams. However, every pet is different and has different needs. Because of this, the frequency you should bring your furry companion to the vet will vary based on your dog's age, medical history, and more.
Puppies and kittens can also be vulnerable to health conditions that adult dogs can resist with ease. This is true for senior or geriatric pets as well. You should bring your young or old pet in for a checkup much more frequently than you would an adult. For puppies and kittens under a year old, every month, and geriatric pets, twice a year.
Routine Wellness Exams
In some cases, your vet will ask you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool to conduct a fecal exam. This sample will be examined for signs of common intestinal parasites which may be otherwise difficult to detect.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your dog's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Inspecting the dog's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Looking at your dog's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your dog's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Checking your dog's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Examining the condition of your dog's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Examining your dog's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Feeling along your dog's body (palpating) for signs of swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
Each of these tests are intended to detect signs of health issues your pet may be experiencing since our pets aren't able to tell us when they are uncomfortable or in pain, these help to check how your pet is generally feeling.
Vaccinations are designed to protect your pet against contagious, common, and possibly even life-threatening diseases. The vaccines which will be recommended for your pet will be based on where you live and what your pet's lifestyle is like.
There are core vaccines that are recommended for all dogs and there are "lifestyle vaccines" which are recommended for pets who are often in contact with other animals.
Your adult pet will require booster shots regularly to maintain their protection against diseases. In most instances, boosters are given to your pet annually, or, once every three years.
Parasites are a health threat to our furry friends! Mosquitos and ticks carry dangerous parasites which can invade your pet's body and cause fatal conditions. Because of this, your vet should recommend ways for you to prevent parasites from invading your pet. 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
- Anaplasmosis & babesiosis
- Rocky mountain spotted fever
Preventive Care Cost
When compared to the cost of treating an advanced form of a condition, disease, or disorder, routine preventative healthcare for your pet will save you money.
Not only that, but preventative veterinary care will also ensure that your pet experiences a minimum amount of pain or discomfort from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected in your pet, 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.