Why do my reminders state my pet needs a wellness exam if it isn’t time for vaccinations?
Wellness visits are one of the most vital parts of our pet’s health care. We recommend a wellness visit every 6 months for pets of all ages. Pack animals are genetically wired to hide or mask problems from the pack, and some pets are more sensitive to changes or discomfort in their bodies than others. Because they cannot speak up and tell us that they feel “off,” physicals and blood work screenings can help the vet know when something is wrong.
Wellness visits are a comprehensive exam of our patients. We look at lifestyle, diet and exercise, perform a head to toe physical, and evaluate organ functions with blood work. If necessary, we can discuss changes that will help your pet live a happier and healthier life.
But my pet seems healthy?
Your pet probably is healthy! A routine physical can note normals for a healthy patient. Regular ocular exams, oral and dental exams, heart rate and rhythm measurements, in addition to observing lymph node size, condition of skin, weight, etc., provide baseline measurements of health and are vital if something does happen. As veterinarians, if we are able to detect a problem in its early stages we can potentially guide treatments or aid in resolution more effectively and less expensively. It is amazing how much your pet’s health can change over a short period of time.
Okay, I scheduled my visit. What should I do to prepare?
Dogs can carry parasites that are potentially detrimental to our health as well as their own. Most heartworm preventatives cover some, but not all, of the intestinal parasites found in our environments. We want to check fresh fecal exams twice yearly for routine screening. Stool samples should be less than 24 hours old and stored in a refrigerator until your visit.
Eating before blood work can affect the results, so we would like the patient to come in with an 8 hour fast, (water is okay), because some tests need to be done while fasting in order to be precise. And, if we were to find something on a physical that would warrant sedation for closer examination, and if time allows, fasting would make it possible to proceed without a separate trip to the office. If your pet did eat within the previous 8 hours, just let us know before we interpret the results.
The best reason for the 8 hour fast is to assure our furry friends will be hungry so they enjoy the tasty treats we offer to help distract them during physicals and procedures, especially if some discomfort could be experienced.
Please call us to discuss your pet's individual needs or update your wellness visit.