What is the best thing you can do for your pet?
If your answer included providing healthy food and fresh water, exercise, playing outside for dogs and playing inside with toys for cats- then you are mostly correct. The true correct answer is PREVENTIVE CARE!!
Preventive care consists of annually or bi-annual examinations by a veterinarian. These routine examinations are a vital aspect of your pet’s health because pets cannot take themselves to the doctor when they feel ill and rely completely on their owners as advocates for their heath.
Pets get human disease such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, ear infections and irritable bowel syndrome too. These diseases can slowly progress and cause mild symptoms that are easily overlooked- especially in pets that are really good at hiding signs of disease. Preventive care or wellness exams has been shown to be a highly effective method for monitoring changes in pet health.
During the preventive or wellness exam, a veterinarian will systematically examine your pet for signs of disease that may not be obvious. Your veterinarian will listen to your pet’s heart and lungs, feel their belly and muscles for abnormalities, evaluate the health of their teeth, manipulate their joints and limbs for signs of inflammation or pain and test your pet’s eyesight and mentation. Many vets also collect a blood sample to look at your pet’s blood cells, measure laboratory indicators of proper organ function and test for heartworms. Preventive care also includes screening a pet’s feces for parasites.
Routine wellness exams are also an opportunity for owners to track their pet’s health as they age. Changes in a pet’s weight, activity or temperature can provide clues to the pet’s daily health. As pets age, their care may need to be slightly modified. These modifications include changes in diet, exercise, vaccinations and parasite control. In addition these exams are opportunities to discuss any concerns about your pet with a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can best advise you how to modify your pet’s daily care as they grow and age.
Pet medical care should not be dismissed as superfluorous or as a marketing tool by veterinarians. In reality, pets cannot take themselves to a doctor when they are sick and rely upon their owners for proper medical care. In the perfect world, pet health care would be equivalent to human health care with every pet receiving yearly dental and medical exams. Unfortunately, many pets only visit the veterinarian when they are ill and sadly many pet diseases can be effectively treated and managed if detected early.
Although routine wellness exams cannot stop your pet from getting a disease, it can help prevent an unnecessary medical emergency. Most veterinarians offer affordable care plans that include bi-annual wellness plans. If your interested in more information on wellness or preventive health care, contact your local veterinarian and they will be happy to discuss available options.