As every pet owner knows, the lives of cats and dogs are too short. However, a preventive medicine regimen can help our beloved companions live long and healthy lives. Like people, pets benefit from routine physical exams, wellness testing, and other forms of preventive medicine. The days of stepping foot inside a veterinary clinic only when a pet falls ill or is injured are long gone. We recommend wellness visits for the same reason your doctor and dentist do: The earlier a problem is detected, the easier it is to treat and resolve, with less time and expense and better success. It addition to detecting illness early, we can correct aspects of your pet’s care that may reduce her quality of life and health. Your pet’s wellness exam involves more than a few vaccinations—it will include the following:
- Parasite prevention — Southern hospitality and warmer weather welcomes all sorts of pests. With no harsh winter, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and intestinal worms flourish all year long, requiring vigilant protection for your pet against these small, but dangerous, parasites. A year-round parasite prevention program protects your pet from the hazards of flea allergy dermatitis, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, heartworm disease, and severe diarrhea. We recommend prevention for every pet, including those who are seldom outside. Pant legs and shoes can easily transport fleas and ticks inside, while mosquitoes can flit through an open door. Prevention is simpler than battling a parasite infestation.
- Vaccinations — We recommend a series of core vaccinations for both cats and dogs, and then tailoring additional protection to your pet’s lifestyle. Each pet has her own unique vaccination protocol, and we will discuss what’s necessary to keep her healthy at each wellness visit.
- Wellness testing — Annual blood work provides a baseline of your pet’s health. We can keep an eye on trends, watch out for problem areas, and nip issues in the bud. As your pet ages, we may recommend other screening tests, depending on age, breed, and species. Cats are prone to kidney disease, and tests are available to detect kidney dysfunction in the early stages, ensuring a better prognosis. Aging dogs may suffer from hypothyroidism or liver disease, and routine blood work can pick up early signs of a disease process, which allows us to treat the disease more easily and prevent unnecessary harm to your pet. Depending on your pet’s health, we may also recommend a fecal examination, urinalysis, blood pressure check, or X-rays to search for any disease signs. Routine preventive medicine is the best practice in your pet-care toolkit to ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life.
- Grooming — All pets require grooming, some more than others. Ask us how to trim your pet’s nails or clean her ears at home, or we can perform those tasks. Proper grooming stabilizes your pet’s body temperature, prevents skin and ear infections, and avoids painful, overgrown nails. We can discuss the necessary grooming requirements for your furry friend.
- Weight management and nutrition — With roughly half our pets tipping the scales at overweight or obese levels, proper diet and exercise are critical to prevent weight-related issues. Osteoarthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes are a few diseases that may befall your pet if she doesn’t shed those extra pounds. A healthy, nutritionally appropriate diet paired with an exercise regimen can help reveal your pet’s slim, sleek figure and add years to her life.
- Behavior issues — Behavior changes can occur at any stage in your pet’s life. Social, mental, and sexual maturity can create changes, as can cognitive dysfunction in older pets. If you notice anything out of the ordinary in your pet’s habits and behavior, be sure to mention it to our team, because it may be a sign of an underlying disease.
- Pain management — Pets, especially cats, are programmed to hide signs of pain. Most older pets suffer from osteoarthritis, yet many owners believe normal old age is slowing down their pet. If your pet is slow to rise in the morning, balks at stairs or furniture, or is eliminating inappropriately, pain may be the cause. Talk to us about your pet’s apparent changes so we can provide relief and keep her comfortable.
- Dental care — Up to 85% of pets suffer from dental disease by age 3, but many pet owners chalk up nasty oral odors to doggy or tuna breath. That strong smell coming from your pet’s mouth can indicate painful, diseased teeth, steeped in infection. Oral bacteria can infiltrate your pet’s bloodstream and infect and damage the heart, kidneys, and liver. Quality dental care tends to the whole body, not only the mouth.
Is it time for your pet’s annual wellness visit? Maybe your furry friend is getting older and requires more frequent medical attention. Don’t delay preventive care—call us to schedule an appointment.