There are lots of different things to consider when you become a pet parent. When you register your pet with your veterinarian, one of the first things that they will speak to you about will be her wellness care and preventing the many different diseases that can possibly affect her. It is a common misconception that wellness appointments are an unnecessary effort and expense, but they can save your pet from a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering. Prevention is also always considerably less expensive than treatment.
If you haven’t owned a pet before, or if you have but you have not previously given much thought to wellness care and disease prevention, here is what you need to know.
What are wellness care assessments?
Wellness care assessments tend to be an annual event, with veterinarians often sending out reminders when your pet is due. However, if your pet is suffering from ill health and would benefit from being monitored more closely, you may be asked to increase the frequency of these visits. Although wellness checks can vary between veterinarians, they typically all include the following elements:
A physical examination
Unsurprisingly, one of the best ways to perform a health check on your pet is to see if there are any visible abnormalities. Our vet will check over every aspect of your pet’s body from her nose to her tail, paying particular attention to her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, joints, and paws. We will also check and palpate her abdomen, feeling to ensure that the organs are in the correct place and don’t feel enlarged or otherwise unusual.
In addition to this, we will weigh your pet, check her heart rate and breathing to ensure that there is nothing that is a cause for concern. If we do have any worries at all, we may follow up the physical examination with further diagnostics including x-rays, CT scans or MRI scans.
Blood tests are one of the most reliable ways of discovering how well your pet’s body is working on the inside, and if she has started to develop any health problems that are not yet presenting with obvious symptoms. These blood tests involve:
- A complete blood count, which looks at the number of red and white cells in your pet’s blood, as well as the number of platelets. Platelet counts indicate how well your pet’s blood will clot should the need arise. Low red cell counts can indicate problems such as anemia, while a raised white blood cell count shows that your pet’s immune system is already active and fighting some sort of disease.
- A blood chemistry profile. This looks at how well your pet’s organs and body systems are functioning and can flag up problems such as diabetes or kidney/liver disease.
- Heartworm testing. This will tell us whether your pet has heartworm disease – a potentially deadly parasitic infection.
As well as checking your pet’s blood, we may also ask you to bring urine and fecal samples for testing. These too can show all manner of developing and current health problems, including diabetes and worm infection.
Dental assessment and professional clean
Just like us, our pets are reliant on their teeth for helping them to eat. They also view their teeth as a form of self-defense if they were ever to be confronted with a threat. However, their oral health is just as vulnerable as our own and for this reason, regular brushing at home is advised for all pets with teeth. Dental assessments and annual professional dental cleaning often form an important part of your pet’s wellness appointments.
Disease prevention advice and treatments
Fortunately, many of the diseases that could threaten the health and wellbeing of our pets can be prevented, and there are lots of different products capable of keeping them safe from harm. One of the best-known disease prevention tools is vaccinations, and robust vaccination schedules have been credited with saving the lives of countless animals over the year. It is now possible to protect our pets from some of the most serious and deadly diseases using a simple, virtually painless shot that is administered on a year or more basis.
Meanwhile, some other types of health threats, such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms, require more frequent administration of medications or topical treatments. Often these are monthly, but there are some capable of protecting our pets for longer.
Our veterinary team will give you very strict and precise guidelines relating to the administration of preventative medications, and if you have any questions about the products themselves or the schedule with which they should be given, we would be happy to help.
For more advice and support on wellness care and disease prevention for your pet, or to schedule an appointment for your pet at our offices in Ashtabula, OH please call us on 440-969-6060 so that our experienced veterinary team can assist you.