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What to Expect When You Attend a Wellness Exam for Your Pet

Regular wellness exams are crucial for ensuring your pet's health. These check-ups allow your veterinarian to identify any potential signs of illness and monitor your pet's overall well-being. Our veterinarians in Poway can provide you with detailed information on what to expect during your pet's annual examination.

My pet is healthy. Why bother going to the vet?

Your furry friend's annual wellness exam is similar to a regular check-up for humans. It should be done at least once or twice a year to help your pet achieve optimal health by focusing on prevention and early disease detection. Regular visits to the veterinarian enable them to keep track of your pet's overall health and identify potential health issues, including cancers and parasites, in their early stages when they are most treatable.

How often should my pet have a routine wellness exam?

The frequency of your pet's wellness exams varies depending on their age, medical history, lifestyle, and breed susceptibility to diseases. If your pet has a history of illness or an increased risk of disease, visiting your vet twice a year can help you maintain your pet's health.

For adult pets in good health, yearly wellness exams are often recommended.

Puppies or senior pets tend to be more susceptible to illness. If you have a new puppy or kitten, visit your vet once a month for the first four to six months.

For senior pets or pets with heightened disease risk, such as large breed dogs, bi-annual wellness exams are recommended. These exams allow your veterinarian to detect early signs of disease and begin treatment before the condition worsens.

What does a dog wellness exam consist of?

When you take your pet for a wellness check-up, the veterinarian reviews their medical history and asks about any health or behavior-related issues. They will also ask about your pet's diet, lifestyle, exercise routine, thirst, and urination habits.

In many cases, veterinarians ask pet owners to bring a fresh stool sample for a fecal exam. These exams are essential for detecting intestinal parasites that can severely impact a pet's health.

After that, the veterinarian will conduct a physical examination. This typically includes the following:

  • Weighing your pet.
  • Checking the pet's stance and gait for irregularities.
  • Examining your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns.
  • Listening to your pets' heart and lungs.
  • Looking closely at your dog or cat's skin for issues such as dryness, parasites, or lumps.
  • Inspecting the overall condition of your pet's coat, watching for dandruff or bald patches.
  • Checking eyes for redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge.
  • Examining your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps.
  • Looking at your pet's teeth for any indication of periodontal disease, damage, or tooth decay.
  • Feel along your pet's body (palpating) for signs of illness, such as swelling, evidence of lameness, such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain.
  • You should palpate your pet's abdomen to assess whether the internal organs appear normal and check for signs of discomfort.

Annual vaccines will also be given at your pet's wellness exam based on the appropriate schedule for your cat or dog. Puppy and kitten vaccinations, as well as booster shots for adult dogs and cats, are important parts of giving your pet the best chance at a long and happy life. Keeping your pet up to date on vaccines will help to protect your furry friend against a range of contagious, potentially serious diseases and conditions.

How long do vet appointments take?

The duration of a vet appointment can vary based on several factors. A typical vet appointment for a routine checkup, vaccination check-up, or minor concern usually lasts around 15 to 30 minutes. However, the appointment may take longer for more complex issues or if your pet requires additional tests, treatments, or procedures, often ranging from 45 minutes to an hour or more.

Why is my vet recommending extra tests for my pet?

Your veterinarian might suggest extra diagnostic tests in addition to the routine checks mentioned. When determining if your dog or cat needs additional testing, it's crucial to consider that early detection and treatment of illnesses are often more cost-effective and less invasive than addressing advanced stages of the disease.

The following subsequent tests screen for various conditions and can identify initial disease indicators before symptoms manifest:

  • Complete blood count (CDC)
  • Thyroid hormone testing
  • Urinalysis

More detailed diagnostic testing, including X-rays and other imaging, may also be recommended if you have a senior pet or a giant breed dog. 

What happens once the examination is complete?

After completing the examination and administering annual vaccines for your pet, your veterinarian will discuss any findings.

If your veterinarian detects any signs of illness or injury, they will discuss more detailed diagnostics or available treatment options with you. 

If the vet finds your dog or cat in good health, they may offer advice on your pet's diet, exercise, oral care, or parasite prevention.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time for your pet's annual routine exam? Contact our vets in Poway today to book an appointment for your four-legged family member.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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