By taking your pet in for a routine wellness exam - or regular vet checkup - you're giving your vet a chance to monitor changes in your pet's health, identify early signs of disease and provide preventive care for potentially life-threatening issues. Our vets in Astoria review how often to bring your pet in for an exam and what happens during the procedure.
Why book a wellness exam if my pet seems healthy?
You want your dog or cat to live their happiest, healthiest life. Preventive care is about helping them do just that. Routine wellness exams are the key to good preventive care and can be customized and scheduled to fit your pet's needs. They are typically scheduled once or twice every year.
When you bring your dog or cat in for a checkup, you give your team of veterinary professionals the chance to track your pet's health, detect early signs of diseases, and provide preventive care including vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your cat or dog feeling and looking their very best.
Discovering and diagnosing health issues from ear infections and parasites to gastrointestinal issues early before symptoms become very clear, means that treatment can start sooner, and any discomfort your pet may be feeling will be resolved in a timely fashion.
How often should I need to bring my pet in for a checkup?
Our Astoria veterinarians recommend booking annual exams for your dog or cat. However, every pet has different needs - especially as they enter their senior years. How often your pet's checkups happen will depend on their age and medical history.
While adult pets may be able to fight off some health conditions, puppies and kittens may be more sensitive to them. This is also often true for senior or geriatric pets. We recommend bringing your puppy or kitten in for a checkup much more frequently to ensure they can thrive during this vulnerable time in their life (monthly for puppies and kittens under a year old). For senior pets, we recommend twice a year or more.
What's involved in a vet checkup for dogs and cats?
When you bring your pet in to Steinway Court Veterinarian for a checkup, our vets will review their medical history and inquire about any specific concerns you may have.
In some instances, before you come in for your appointment we may ask you to bring a sample of your pet's stool with you so we can do a fecal exam. That sample will be analyzed for signs of intestinal parasites that would otherwise be very difficult to detect.
After taking these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical checkup for your pet. These typically include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your animal's lungs and heart
- Analyzing your pet's stance, gait and weight
- Checking the condition of your pet's teeth for any signs of periodontal disease, decay or damage
- Examining your pet's ears for signs of ear mites, wax build-up, polyps or bacterial infection
- Inspecting your pet's nails and feet for signs of serious health concerns, injuries or damage
- Checking the condition of your pet's coat for abnormal hair loss, dandruff and other common issues
- Examining your pet's eyes for symptoms such as discharge, eyelid issues, cloudiness, excessive tearing and redness
- Inspecting your cat or dog's skin for a variety of issues from dryness to lumps, bumps (especially in skin folds) and parasites
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
These tests are meant to detect signs of health problems your cat or dog could be experiencing. Since our dogs and cats can't tell us when they are uncomfortable, these tests and checks help to determine how your beloved pet is generally feeling.
What about getting my pet their shots?
Vaccines are designed to protect your dog or cat against common, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. The lifestyle your cat or dog lives will determine what vaccines your vet will recommend.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet checkout our vaccine schedule.
Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots' on a regular basis in order to maintain protection against the diseases they've been vaccinated for. In most cases boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your vet will be sure to let you know when your dog or cat's booster shots are due.
Does my pet really need parasite prevention?
Parasites are a real health threat to pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can invade your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, that's why the team at our Astoria veterinary clinic will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your four-legged friend. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their owners!
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Is preventive care expensive?
When you compare the cost of treating advanced disorders or diseases (especially heartworm), preventative care in the form of regular wellness checkups will save you money.
Not only that, but they will make sure your pet experiences a minimal amount of discomfort or pain from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.