Beth here again, this time to discuss the importance of 6 month wellness exams! Pets can’t talk, and they are good at hiding their pain. In the wild, if an animal showed signs of pain, it would make them a target for predators. So dogs and cats have evolved to keep their symptoms to themselves. By the time signs are obvious, the underlying disease or illness may have progressed to the point where treatment may be difficult, expensive, or maybe not even possible!
Pet owners often think in terms of “my pet is due for his vaccines”. While vaccinations are very important, this is a common misconception. Twice yearly exams help the veterinarian diagnose and treat (or ideally prevent) problems before they become serious. Vaccinations protect against specific contagious diseases like Rabies, Parvo, and Leptospirosis. However, there are no vaccines for Arthritis, Diabetes, Thyroid Disorders, etc. These problems can only be diagnosed and treated during a wellness exam. Pets age at a much faster rate than humans due to their higher metabolisms. This means that diseases and conditions progress much faster in pets than people.
The following services are performed during the 6 month wellness exam: heart and lungs assessed for symptoms like heart murmur or labored breathing; weight check to identify obesity or malnourishment; ears checked for mites or other parasites; eyes examined for early diagnosis of potential problems; dental exam to check for pain, swelling, and possible abscesses; and full body palpation to identify certain tumors, growths, joint disorders, etc.
Today’s pets are living longer, so chances are many will experience a potentially serious illness during their lifetime. An ounce of prevention really IS worth a pound of cure – a widely accepted idea in other areas of our lives, such as scheduling dental checkups every 6 months, or regular oil changes for our cars. With a few preventive steps, Liberty Veterinary Hospital can help your pets live longer, healthier, happier lives. Next week I will discuss why year round parasite prevention is so important!