Changes to the recommended vaccination schedules for dogs and cats mean that in some cases, a yearly vaccination is not needed. However, it is still very important to take your pet to your vet for a thorough examination.
You might be wondering why you would take them for a checkup when there does not appear to be anything wrong. Isn’t this just a waste of your hard-earned dollars? The answer to that is a definite no.
There are a number of reasons why a routine health check is a very good idea for your four-legged family member.
Earlier Detection of Disease
A thorough clinical exam might pick up early indicators of illness that you may not have noticed. Often an early diagnosis means that treatment is easier, cheaper and more successful. Sometimes, an experience that you happen to mention in passing gives your vet a hint that something is going on, and they can then investigate further. You may not pay too much attention to the fact that you have to refill you pet’s water bowl more frequently than usual, but this can be an early indicator of diabetes or kidney disease. Both of these conditions respond better to prompt, aggressive treatment. Some subtle reddening of your pet’s gums near their back molars is easy for you to overlook but your vet can treat that gum disease before it becomes painful or your dog loses her teeth.
Preventative Health Care
Prevention is always better than cure. A yearly or twice-yearly visit to your vet will allow you to work out a preventative health care plan for your pet for the next 6-12 months. This can include deciding which vaccines to give and how often, how to protect them against internal and external parasites, and how to provide the best nutrition for their activity level and life stage. A regular exam can also detect slight increases in body weight that can lead to obesity, allowing you to adjust your pet’s food intake to keep them in good body condition.
It’s Not Always Physical
Often pet parents don’t feel that a behavioral problem really warrants a visit to the vet unless they are particularly bothersome. However, even minor problems can be managed and that can make a difference to your day-to-day life and that of your pet. Does your dog jump up on visitors to your home? Perhaps your cat has started going to the toilet outside their litter box – this can have both physical and behavioral causes. A regular checkup gives you the opportunity to have a chat to your vet about any behavior changes you have noticed and take steps to remedy them before they become a real inconvenience.
Senior Citizen Care
Older dogs and cats benefit from regular vet examinations because they age faster than we do and often suffer from age-related diseases. Your vet can assess your pet for the presence of such conditions as degenerative joint disease and dementia and recommend treatments to maintain their quality of life. It’s recommended that a routine blood test be done at these visits because these will show up any early changes to internal organ function that might need attention.
Taking your pet to your vet for a routine checkup is important for you, too. Should your much-loved companion become ill or injured, there is no doubt you will be stressed. However, you will feel better if you know the person whom you are trusting with their care. These regular checkups allow you to get to know your vet and give you confidence that your pet is in good hands when they are not well.
Whether your pet is in the prime of her life or starting to approach her senior years, your vet is your ally in keeping her in the best of health and managing any problems that arise. They can best do this if they know your pet and if they have the opportunity to look her over on a regular basis.