When our dog was six, she went to the vet for a dental cleaning. Before the procedure, the vet did some pre-anesthetic lab work to make sure she was healthy. The lab work allowed the doctors to detect a thyroid condition that our sweet Summer would live with for the rest of her life. Thankfully it was a condition that could be treated with medication. Because we followed the recommendations of our dog’s doctor, we were able to give Summer the care she deserved.
There’s no time like the present to make sure your pet has had a thorough well check within the past year. There are many reasons it is important to schedule and keep regular appointments with your pet’s veterinarian. And when you know what to expect at your pet’s well check, you can make sure to be prepared for the visit.
Why does my pet need an annual vet exam?
1. Rabies Vaccination
In PetMD’s article To Vaccinate or Not: A Vet’s Perspective, T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM writes “Any warm blooded animal of any age or health status has potential to contract rabies if exposed. Not to be forgotten, unlike some other animal diseases, rabies is nearly always fatal in humans. This is why nearly every state requires dogs get their rabies vaccine.” If you live in the southwest, you should consider a rattlesnake vaccine as well. Read our blog, World Rabies Day 2015 for more about the importance of the rabies vaccination.
2. Wellness Prevention
The best way to keep your pet healthy is through preventative measures! If you know someone who has adopted a dog with heartworm, you know the difficult process of treatment. Anyone who has ever had an infestation of fleas can attest to the arduous process of removing them from the home. Some conditions are easier to treat if they are caught early, and an annual wellness check is the best way for your vet to check these conditions! PetPartner’s Defender and DefenderPlus wellness plans provide reimbursement for annual preventative care!
3. Spay/Neuter and Teeth Cleaning
Spaying or neutering your dog or cat prevents unwanted puppies or kittens. PetPartners offers wellness plans to help offset the cost of this procedure.
Dental cleanings can prevent bad breath, gingivitis, and bacterial contamination. For more reasons to have your dog’s teeth cleaned, see our blog, National Pet Dental Health Month.
What should I expect at a wellness visit?
1. Temperature Check
Your vet will take your dog or cat’s temperature rectally. It should range between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. According to veterinarian T.J. Dunn, an elevated temperature is occasionally what alerts the doctor that something is wrong. Animals can be very stoic when they aren't feeling well, and you might not even be aware that your pet is fighting off an illness!
2. Skin and Coat
Your pet’s skin should be clean and not greasy, and his coat should be shiny and not brittle. If your pet has been having issues with flaky skin, patchy fur or is scratching more than usual, now would be a good time to notify your veterinarian so they can take a look and determine the underlying cause. Often, shampoos recommended by your vet and some additional time in the bath can help to resolve skin and coat issues.
Ear infections are a common health issue for both cats and dogs and can be caused by bacteria, yeast or allergies. Signs your pet may be suffering from an ear infection include head shaking, pawing at the ears and/or a foul smell coming from the ears. Your vet may need to presecible medication to treat more serious infections, but as with any infection, treatment will be much easier to clear up if caught early.
4. Heart and Lungs
Your vet will use a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s lungs and heart for abnormalities. A normal heartbeat should have two distinct sounds: lub-dub... lub-dub..., however your vet is listening for any out of the ordinary sounds - a whooshing sound between the two beats might indicate a heart murmur.
By checking your pet’s abdomen, your vet can detect such things as kidney problems, bladder stones, and pregnancy.
Oral hygiene is as important to your pet’s health as it is to your overall wellness. PetPartners offers a wellness plan that operates on a schedule of benefits which allows for remibursement of a certain amount towards a dental cleaning each year.
The most common ailment your vet may see in your pet’s eyes is irritation from allergens. He will do a close inspection of your pet’s visible eye structure and lids which will allow him to detect cataract formation and inflammation of the eye structure.
Your vet will do a close examination of your pet’s toenails and paws. Long nails will be clipped shorter. Check out PetMD’s How to Clip Dog Nails.
Wellness Checks Keep Your Pet Healthy!
Once you have prepared yourself for your fur baby’s wellness checkup, you can rest easy knowing he is in good hands. Wellness checks are important to ensure your pet is feeling his best and ready for your next adventure together! PetPartners offers a wellness plan that can reimburse you for many of your wellness check-up costs such as the cost of the actual wellness visit, preventative treatments, vaccinations/titers, and much more. Get a quote today!