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Why are annual health checks so important?

A yearly veterinary examination ensures health problems are detected and treated early.  This means a happier, healthier and longer life for our animal family members.

Our pets become VIPS’s (Very Important Pets) within our families. It is so important to make sure you visit your vet at least once a year. This is because our pets age much more quickly than humans and they can’t tell us when they are feeling unwell.

Preventative healthcare is about feeding and caring for our pets as well as detecting and treating any illness early. One of the most important steps in preventative health care is an annual veterinary examination.

What happens at a yearly check-up?

When you arrive at the clinic, we ask you to weigh your dog on the scales – cats will be weighed in the consult room.  The vet can then assess the pet’s general body condition, coat, and skin health.  Your vet may ‘body score’ your pet and if necessary, estimate their ideal weight and discuss a weight management plan.  Excess weight can reduce your pet’s life expectancy by more than two years. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight lowers his/her risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disease, kidney disease, and some forms of cancer.

The vet will examine the following:

  • Ears, eyes, and mouth including the teeth
  • The vet will listen to the chest to detect any irregularities in the heart or lungs
  • The abdomen will be palpated. This is when the vet feels the abdomen organs for any changes.
  • The limbs will be checked, including the joints, allowing early detection of problems like arthritis.
  • the entire body will be felt over and examined for irregularities or growths.
  • older dogs may also have a rectal examination to detect any anal growths and to check the prostate gland in the male
  • any area of concern related to your pet’s health will be examined and discussed.

If further examination is required such as blood or urine samples, the vet may take your pet to the surgery.  These tests allow the vet to understand what the normal parameters are for your pet and help to detect any abnormalities that may not be detected during a physical examination.

While visiting we can also assist you with any task that may be difficult to do at home to do such as giving them a worm, flea treatment and nail clipping.

Older Pets and pets who are receiving treatment

As pets age a regular health check becomes even more important as the likelihood of cancer, heart disease, organ disease, arthritis and other age-related problems increase, and disease can progress rapidly. A three to six monthly check ensures early diagnosis and treatment.

Pets that have already been diagnosed with health problems will also need more regular check-ups.  This includes animals with conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or arthritis.  More regular examinations are important to monitor the progress of disease and to ensure that the pet is on the optimum type of nutrition and medication for the best quality of life.

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