Bringing your cat or dog in for regular check-ups is crucial for preventing a range of potential health issues your pet might face. In this article, our veterinarians in Monterey Park emphasize the significance of routine pet vet examinations.
The Importance of Routine Exams
Your pet should ideally undergo a routine physical exam by your veterinarian once or twice a year, regardless of their apparent health. Regular wellness check-ups enable you and your veterinary team to support your pet's well-being and happiness actively.
By consistently attending wellness checks, even when your pet appears healthy, you allow your veterinarian to evaluate your pet's overall health and conduct tests for diseases, illnesses, and conditions that may be difficult to detect in their early stages, such as cancers and parasites.
Early treatment can significantly benefit potentially serious medical conditions. During the check-up, your vet aims to accomplish two key objectives: prevent the development of health conditions whenever possible and identify early signs of disease so that they can be promptly treated before escalating into more severe problems.
How Often Your Pet Should Be Examined
Several factors, including age and medical history, will determine how often you should take your pet for a wellness check-up.
If your pet has a history of illness but is currently healthy, we recommend scheduling a biannual wellness check with your vet to maintain optimal health. Your vet can thoroughly examine your pet and provide guidance on the frequency of their physical exams.
Due to the developing immune systems of puppies and kittens, young pets may be more susceptible to certain illnesses that adult pets can easily overcome. To ensure proper care during their early months, your vet might advise booking a monthly check-up for the initial few months.
Adult dogs or cats with no history of illness should undergo an annual vet check-up. However, pets such as senior dogs, senior cats, and giant breed dogs may face an increased risk of additional health issues and should have more frequent visits to monitor for early signs of illness. In these cases, bringing your pet in for semiannual check-ups for cats or dogs is advisable.
Preparing for Your Pet's Routine Exam
Your vet needs some basic medical information about your canine or feline companion, especially if this is your pet's first wellness check with us. Bring notes about your pet, including their:
- Recent travel history
- Past medical records
- Eating and drinking habits
- Current medications (names & doses)
- Vaccine history
- Tick bite history
- Food (type & amount)
- Waste elimination habits
You may also want to bring a favorite blanket or toys for comfort. While dogs should be on a leash, cats should be in a carrier.
Elements of Your Pet's Exam
When you bring your pet to the veterinarian, the vet will review your animal's medical history and inquire about any concerns you may have. Additionally, they will ask questions about your pet's diet, exercise routine, thirst, bowel movements, urination, and other aspects of their lifestyle and behavior.
In certain situations, you will be requested to provide a fresh sample of your pet's feces (bowel movement) for a fecal exam. This step allows for the identification of problematic intestinal parasites that may be challenging to detect otherwise.
Following that, the vet will conduct a physical examination of your pet. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the steps involved in a routine veterinary examination of your pet:
- Measuring their gait, stance, and weight
- Listening to your pet's lungs and heart with a stethoscope
- Checking the eyelids for any issues, in addition to examining their eyes for signs of cloudiness, discharge, excessive tearing, cloudiness, or redness
- Assessing your pet for any signs of illness, such as limited motion or signs of swelling or pain, by palpating (feeling along) their body.
- Feeling the abdomen to check internal organ function and to check for signs of pain or discomfort
- Examining your pet's nails and feet for signs of health issues or conditions
- Checking inside your pet's ears for signs of wax buildup, polyps, ear mites, or bacterial infection
- Inspecting their teeth for signs of decay, damage, or periodontal disease
- Examining your pet's fur, skin, and/or coat to assess overall condition, as well as look for signs of abnormal hair loss, dandruff, unusual lumps, or bumps
If your vet finds no cause for concern, the wellness check is usually completed relatively quickly and with few issues. They may even chat with you as they do so. If an issue is identified, your vet will explain what they have noticed and recommend your pet's next steps or potential treatments.
Annual vaccinations are also administered during a cat or dog check-up, based on your animal's appropriate schedule.
Additional Exam Tests
In addition to the basic check-up focuses we discussed earlier, your vet may also suggest additional wellness testing. Remember that, in most cases, detecting and treating serious diseases early is more cost-effective, less invasive, and less burdensome for your pet than treating the condition once it has progressed.
These additional tests may include checking your pet's blood count and thyroid hormone levels and conducting a urinalysis, along with diagnostic procedures such as X-rays and imaging.
Following Your Pet's Exam
After your vet physically examines your pet, conducts any necessary diagnostic tests, and administers their annual vaccines, they will explain their findings to you.
If your vet identifies any signs of injury, illness, or existing/potential conditions, they will suggest more detailed diagnostics or potential treatment options.
If your pet is in good health, the discussion will center on enhancing or maintaining their exercise and diet routines, taking care of their oral health, and ensuring that essential parasite prevention measures are in place and monitored.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.