Pets are expensive, and you may decide to save a little money by neglecting your pet’s routine wellness screenings. However, these examinations can improve your pet’s quality of life and increase their longevity. Our team at Westerville Veterinary Clinic explains the reasons why you should schedule your pet’s next wellness screening, and the importance of these visits for your pet’s health and wellbeing.
#1: Regular wellness visits help keep your pet at a healthy weight
Obesity is a significant problem in pets, and increases the risk for serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and arthritis. Determining your pet’s weight status can be difficult, especially if they have a thick hair coat, so our wellness visits include a thorough weight status assessment. We weigh your pet and determine their body conditioning score (BCS), and will help devise a safe, effective weight loss plan if your pet needs to lose a few pounds. If your pet is at a healthy weight, we will offer suggestions to ensure he or she remains at this ideal weight.
#2: Regular wellness visits allow us to detect subclinical pet diseases
Your pet’s ancestors instinctually hid illness and pain to mask their vulnerabilities from potential predators. Your pet may no longer roam in the wild, but these instincts are still present, and your pet will hide many conditions until their health is significantly compromised. Wellness visits allow our veterinary professionals to perform a comprehensive health evaluation to ensure your pet isn’t suffering from a subclinical issue. Diagnostics include:
- Physical exam — We examine your pet from head to toe to find potential abnormalities, such as cataracts, heart murmur or arrhythmias, abnormal lung noises, and abdominal masses. Further diagnostics may be recommended if we find an abnormality.
- Complete blood count (CBC) — A CBC is performed to evaluate your pet’s white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Conditions we may discover include infection, inflammatory response, anemia, and leukemia.
- Biochemistry profile — A biochemistry profile evaluates several body systems to assess your pet’s overall health. We may discover liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and protein loss.
- Urinalysis — We evaluate your pet’s urine, assessing the color, content, concentration, and pH, and may discover a urinary tract infection, diabetes, urinary crystals, and kidney disease.
- Thyroid panel — We may recommend a thyroid panel if you have a senior pet, since thyroid conditions are common in older pets.
#3: Regular wellness visits allow us to address pet dental disease
Periodontal disease is a common problem for pets, and affects most pets by the time they are 3 years old. The disease can cause painful, bleeding gums, bad breath, loose or missing teeth, and oral infections, and can also damage organs throughout your pet’s body if the causative bacteria enter your pet’s bloodstream. Regular wellness visits allow our veterinarians to detect your pet’s periodontal disease and take steps to address the problem. If your pet shows any periodontal disease signs, we may recommend a professional veterinary dental cleaning to prevent further complications.
#4: Regular wellness visits keep your pet parasite free
Many parasites can cause significant health problems for your pet, and some can also cause issues for you and your family. During a regular wellness visit, we perform several diagnostic tests to ensure your pet is parasite free. These tests include:
- Skin evaluation — We examine your pet’s skin and coat to ensure no fleas are present. A single flea can cause significant problems for your pet, and these small parasites can be difficult to detect.
- Fecal check — We test your pet’s feces to check for intestinal parasites such as hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia.
- Heartworm test — Heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquitoes, can significantly damage your pet’s heart and lungs. We can easily perform a blood test to ensure your pet is heartworm free.
- Tests for tick-borne illnesses — Ticks carry diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis, which can severely debilitate your pet, but we can perform a simple blood test to determine your pet’s exposure.
We recommend keeping your pet on year-round parasite prevention medications to help protect them from these dangerous parasites.
#4: Regular wellness visits protects your pet from pain
Osteoarthritis is common in senior and geriatric pets, but can occur at any age. However, you may not realize your pet is affected because the signs are subtle. Our veterinary professionals are skilled at recognizing pet joint pain, and may recommend further diagnostics, such as X-rays, if we suspect your pet has osteoarthritis. Numerous therapies are available to alleviate osteoarthritis pain and improve your pet’s quality of life, and we will determine the best treatment for your four-legged friend.
#5: Regular pet wellness visits save you money
Averting preventable conditions and detecting illnesses early helps you avoid high veterinary costs. Diseases caught in the early stages are easier and less expensive to manage—plus, early detection typically provides a better prognosis for your pet.
Regular wellness visits may seem like an unnecessary expense, but they are paramount for your pet’s health and wellbeing. If you would like to schedule a wellness screening for your pet, contact our Fear Free team at Westerville Veterinary Clinic, so we can ensure your four-legged friend lives a long, healthy, pain-free life.