Dr. Abdul Basit Javed (DVM, RVMP)
As pet parents, all we want is good health and a happy life for our pets. Annual vet appointments are necessary for both cats and dogs to ensure that they are fit and healthy and free of any hidden diseases. Unfortunately, a lot of pet owners don’t know the importance of annual visits to the veterinarian.
In general, most veterinarians advise at least two annual checkups for both cats and dogs regardless of whether they are ill or healthy. Regular veterinary visits involve physical examinations of your pet, history taking from pet owners, and blood work if necessary.
This article will explain the significance of regular veterinary checkups for your pet and the reasons you shouldn't ignore them. Our small animal veterinarian will also explain what procedures are performed during routine vet appointments, so keep reading.
Importance Of Annual Vet Visits For Your Pets
Similar to people, it is advised that dogs and cats visit the vet annually for health checks and this should not be ignored at any cost. Following are some points that can help you decide how important it is for cats and dogs to visit the vet for a regular wellness checkup.
Some cats and dogs are very good at masking disease symptoms, so you might not even be aware that they are ill. Therefore, it's important to take your pet to the veterinarian for a health checkup to ensure that they have a clean bill of health.
Visits to the veterinarian aid in the detection of asymptomatic diseases like some types of cancer. A pet may develop cancer, but occasionally they don't exhibit any symptoms, and by the time they do, it's usually too late.
- Annual visits to the vet not only assist in the diagnosis of diseases but also help to determine that a dog or cat has the ideal weight, coat, teeth, and healthy organs.
- During wellness visits at the vet's office, your pet will also receive any pending vaccinations and deworming medications.
- Veterinarians will provide you with a comprehensive report on your pet's health and, if necessary, suggest dietary changes to improve your pet's quality of life.
- Veterinarians will also check to see if your pet has any internal or external parasites.
- Annual checkups are also important in determining whether your pet has good nervous health and does not have behavioral issues.
Will Veterinarians Ask Questions Regarding Your Pet?
Yes, vets will ask you questions regarding your pet. This process is called history-taking. Given that pets cannot talk with the veterinarian, taking their history from owners is one of the most important steps in ensuring that everything is going well in their daily life.
Therefore, it is up to pet owners to provide veterinarians with a detailed overview of their pet's daily routine and any observation they think is important to the vet. Generally, veterinarians inquire about the following aspects of your pet's life:
- Age of your pet
- Your pet's diet and feeding schedule
- Regarding the housing of your pet
- Exercise and activity of your pet
- Sleep duration and schedule
- Pet’s behavior with the owner, other people, and pets
- If they have noticed any changes lately like loss of appetite, laziness, resistance to walking, difficulty while urination or defecation
- History of any injuries, fights, parasites (ticks)
- Travel history and current medications
The answers to all of these questions will help the veterinarian determine whether your cat or dog is healthy or not, so never mislead them and always provide the true history.
What Procedures Are Performed During Your Pet's Annual Checkups?
The following procedures are normally performed during your pet's annual health examination visit at the veterinarian's clinic:
- Your pet's weight will be determined.
- Your pet will undergo a thorough physical examination that includes looking at its eyes, ears, muzzle, rear end, genitalia, and other body parts.
- Your pet's veterinarian will auscultate its heart and possibly other organs to ensure that everything is functioning properly.
- The veterinarian will inspect your pet's bones and body parts to make sure there are no developmental disorders, lumps, or bumps.
- Blood tests may also be recommended by some veterinarians to find any underlying health issues in your pet.
- A vet may also perform a stool examination to check for internal parasites if the pet has a history of significant weight loss.
Annual wellness visits to the veterinarian's office are critical, yet many pet owners neglect them or are unaware of the benefits.
The lives of many pets are saved each year as a result of these annual health checkups because of the timely detection of life-threatening disorders and diseases in pets that owners are unaware of and many pets do not exhibit symptoms as well.
Annual checkups with the vet ensure that your pet's vaccinations are up to date, weight is within a healthy range, there are no deficiencies, and your pet is free of parasites.