Regular wellness exams are one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends annual wellness exams at a preventive care and have developed wellness protocols for every stage of your pet's life.
One of the most important reasons to bring your pet in on a regular basis is to monitor and treat conditions before they become untreatable. Since pets can't vocalize how they are feeling, illness or disease may be present before you are aware of symptoms. The benefit of early detection allows time for steps to be taken to manage or correct a problem before irreversible damage occurs. Because our pets age so much faster than we do, regular wellness exams are one of the best ways that you can help your pet live a long, healthy life.
During a wellness exam, we will take your pet's vital signs and ask for a complete history of your pet's health including eating habits, exercise, unusual behavior, etc. and do a comprehensive examination of your pet from nose to tail. We may also perform diagnostic tests such as blood work, urinalysis or intestinal parasite tests and vaccines may be administered (depending on your pet's life stage). Additionally, disease screenings (heartworm, kidney, liver, blood disorders, etc.) may be recommended, depending on the state of your pet's health.
Wellness exams are a simple and effective way of monitoring your pet's health. Wellness examinations do not necessarily mean that your pet is going to be subjected to a barrage of complicated or costly medical tests and treatments. While some animals may need close monitoring of blood work, x-rays or other tests, many pets benefit simply from being physically examined, having their heart and lungs listened to and their general health assessed, preventing a major health issue from developing undetected. This also gives us the opportunity to analyze and record baseline values, such as temperature, body condition, and lab work. We measure these when your pet is healthy, in order to provide better care in the event of illness or emergency. A dental health exam and a weight check are always important parts of a wellness exam, and may indicate problems that can progress rapidly and can have significant impact on your pet's overall health.
Early detection and correction of medical problems will help to ensure that your pet will love a long, healthy and active life.