Your pet can’t tell you if something is wrong. This is why we recommend that you bring in your pets at least once a year to be checked over by a veterinarian.
During a health check your pet will be thoroughly examined all over from nose to tail and any abnormal findings will be discussed. If you have any concerns with regard to your pet’s health or behaviour then this is the time to ask and we can then look more specifically at this area; for example you may note that ‘Fido’ has been having trouble getting up the stairs, or that ‘Puss’ has had bad breath. It is a good time to discuss any changes since the previous check-up, as these changes may indicate a serious problem – for example has a lump got bigger, has a heart murmur got worse? This is particularly important in geriatric animals (approximately 8 years of age) where changes can occur quickly and so regular examinations are vital to pick up on these differences before it is too late.
A check-up is also an ideal time to review your vaccination, worming, and flea treatments. If your pet has been examined as healthy then these treatments can be carried out at the same time. We can also recommend the best flea and worm products and vaccination programme for your pet.
Your pet will also be weighed and if their weight is abnormal, diet and nutritional advice can be given. If during an examination we find specific problems that require further tests or surgery we will be able to discuss these and book them in for a later date.
If your animal is on a regular prescription medication, such as arthritis treatment or heart medication, you are required to bring your pet in for a check-up at least every 6 months. This is a legal requirement we have to follow as by law any animal on a prescription medicine needs to be seen as ‘under our care’. Just as people who cannot get prescriptions without a visit to their doctor first, your pet will need to be seen every 6 months in order to get repeat prescriptions.
We see this time as a really good opportunity to talk about any side effects seen, problems with dosing, effectiveness of the medication etc. We may be able to change the dose or frequency, or look at alternative options if you are seeing side effects or having difficulty dosing. This will often save you money in the long run. Specific medications long term can have side effects on body systems such as the liver or kidneys and a blood test may be required at certain intervals to ensure that the medication is doing no harm to internal organ function. As vets, our ethical obligation to your pet is first and foremost to ‘do no harm’ and if the prescription medicine is causing more harm than benefit then this will need to be adjusted. The quality of life your pet lives is paramount to us.
Remember that for every one year of our lives, this can equate to 7 or more years in your dog or cat’s lives. Would you only go to your doctor or dentist once every 7 years? An annual health check is a valuable tool and a small price to pay in helping to ensure your pet lives a long and happy life. Contact your nearest clinic to arrange an appointment today.
Visits to the vet can be quite stressful for you and your pet. Regardless of the reason for your visit, restraint of your pet is crucial. Having complete control of your pet is essential to prevent an already stressful situation getting worse.