September 30 – October 6 is Animal Health Week 2012. This year’s theme is “Preventitive Veterinary Care”
So in honour of this, I am going to convince you that annual check-ups with your vet are a great idea. I’m not talking about vaccinations – that is a whole other discussion, and I don’t want to get into that here. I’m just talking about a once a year appointment to get you, and your pet, in a room with a trusted veterinarian. What happens in that room is between you and your veterinarian. There will be a physical exam, of course, but beyond that will depend on the needs and conditions of you and your pet.
Once before I’ve discussed why regular visits are good for senior cats, and the same ideas apply to senior dogs, and cats and dogs of any age really.
The idea behind preventative veterinary care is to stop problems before they start, to catch issues before they cause serious damage, and to establish a relationship with your veterinarian so you have someone to turn to down the road when your currently healthy pet is not so healthy.
In a young healthy animal it may be no more than a physical exam, which may lead to a discussion about weight, diet, dental health, skin health, dirty ears. . . I could go on! As your pet gets older, we may recommend blood work to take a closer look at how things are working on the inside.
If we see your pet when he or she is a bit overweight we can have a discussion to prevent obesity and the health risks that come with it. If we spot early dental disease we can make recommendations that will prevent it from getting worse, do a routine cleaning before the teeth are rotting out of the head and cause a tooth root abscess. If we notice poor skin and coat quality, we can make suggestions to make this better and improve quality of life for you and your pet. If we see a mild ear infection we can take care of it before the ear becomes super inflamed, sore, and maybe even swells shut. I hope you see my point! And with blood work we might find out your pet is diabetic before you rush them in on emergency because they are super sick with diabetic ketoacidosis, or we might find out the kidneys aren’t working so well before they start vomiting everywhere and stop eating. I could go on some more!
The bottom line: regular check-ups will extend your pet’s life and hopefully prevent serious illness requiring extensive and expensive medical intervention. That is why it is called PREVENTATIVE care!
So, celebrate Animal Health week by thinking about when your pet has last had an exam… has it been more than a year? Maybe it’s time to call up your vet and book another! Also, by the way, some clinics celebrate Animal Health week with open houses and other such activities – so check out their websites, or swing by and ask if they’re doing anything special!