Pets should see their veterinarian at least twice per year. A yearly veterinarian visit is essential to keep your pet updated on vaccinations. However a second wellness visit ensures that your pet is healthy and is not developing chronic illnesses such as kidney disease, cancer or arthritis. Animals age faster than humans, so their health can change significantly over the course of a year. Since your pet cannot vocalize their feelings you must rely on regular physical exams and your at-home observations to evaluate your pet’s health. Routine blood testing, urinalysis and hormonal tests are recommended to establish baseline values as pet’s age.
A yearly wellness exam involves a full physical exam from nose to tail that assesses your pet’s body condition, musculoskeletal system, teeth, coat, cardiovascular system, breathing and temperature. Pets are checked for external parasites such as fleas or lice and internal parasites such as heartworms, tapeworms and protozoan parasites. It also examines internal conditions such as blood composition, hormone levels, kidney function and mineral levels. A wellness exam is also an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have with your pet without the urgency of an emergency. Your veterinarian will be eager to discuss external parasite control, heartworms or address any behavioral issues your pet may have.
Bi-annual visits to the veterinarian ensure that your pet is healthy and not developing any chronic illnesses. Treating your pet before a condition becomes critical prevents your pet from experiencing unnecessary stress and discomfort. It also can help circumvent large veterinary bills and mitigate your own stress.
Veterinarians recognize that bringing your healthy pet into a veterinarian office can be stressful for the pet (especially cats) and have made alterations to their clinics to accommodate wellness visits. Many veterinarian clinics offer specials on wellness exams to promote pet health and client relationships. Bringing your healthy pet to the veterinarian's office is a great opportunity to practice positive reinforcement such that your pet associates the veterinarian hospital as a good place.