As humans, we know the value of getting regular check-ups – from overall health to specific exams such as mammograms, dental cleanings, eye exams, or bloodwork. We know it either leads to prevention or early detection of any medical problem(s). The same rule applies to animals.
Not long ago the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) collaborated to develop preventive healthcare guidelines for dogs and cats. The reason was because studies conducted by each organization showed that while veterinary visits were declining, instances of preventable diseases in pets were increasing. The thing most pet owners don’t think about is that the cost of prevention and wellness for their pet ends up being a fraction of the cost of treating an ailment or disease that could have been detected early, or simply prevented.
Wellness exams are especially beneficial for pets considering animals instinctively hide many of their health issues. A lot of signs are either missed or misinterpreted by owners, even those who know their pets well. Wellness exams (especially those started with puppies and kittens) track your pet’s medical history, so your veterinarian can monitor whether changes are normal or abnormal. They look at everything from your pet’s eyes, mouth, lymph nodes, heart, lungs, abdomen, and musculoskeletal system.
The exams help your vet make recommendations for dental care, nutrition, pain management, and even behavior. Also, by having your pet on a wellness plan it makes it easier for you and your vet to make sure your pet receives the proper vaccinations when they’re due, regular flea and tick prevention, and they’re given annual heartworm testing and intestinal parasite screens. More importantly, wellness exams could help prevent diseases such as obesity, ear infections, and dental disease. Wellness plans also include screenings for arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease.
By knowing your pet’s medical history and risk factors, your vet can tailor your pet’s healthcare to his/her needs. The Canine Preventive Guidelines and Feline Preventive Guidelines breakdown the benefits of wellness exams but clear communication with your vet and learning about the wellness plans they provide would be the right start to a healthier and longer life your pet deserves.