Preventing and catching diseases early is essential for both pets and people. When it comes to dogs and cats, it is important to remember that they age faster than we do. A year is more like five to seven years in growth and development, which makes it even more necessary to schedule a yearly veterinary check-up. Feline and canine dental care can also go a long way toward improving the health, wellness, and longevity of your pet. Preventive care can be used to reduce costs for the treatment of common diseases and health concerns as pets age.
While your veterinarian will tell you the best schedule for your pet based on their age, health, lifestyle, and any other considerations, there is a basic rule of thumb for check-ups. Young pets should come in for check-ups every six months or sooner, depending on their vaccination schedule and any health concerns. Adults need an annual check-up for pets, along with any required dental treatments, and senior pets might need to come in more frequently, especially if they are undergoing any specialized therapies. An exam is a great time to ask questions, ensure that you are feeding a quality diet, and discuss any concerns that you might have about health or behavior.
What to Expect at the Vet
Each veterinarian is different, but there is a protocol that can be expected at an annual check-up for pets. When you arrive, your pet’s weight will be taken and charted in their file. This helps the veterinarian to keep track of your pet’s growth but is also used for proper measurement of any medications or treatments that might need to be given. The eyes and ears will be checked, looking for things like itchiness, discharge, or redness. Questions about diet, drinking habits, urination, defecation, appetite, and behavior will likely be asked to help assess your pet’s overall lifestyle and condition.
Additional checks will be provided, such as listening to your pet’s heart and lungs, examining their skin and coat for hair loss, itchy spots, shedding, matting, lumps, pigment issues, and anal sac problems. If your pet has been doing a lot of scooting, licking, or chewing, be sure to mention it at this time. Discussions about vaccinations, boosters, and other preventive measures will also take place, including things like heartworm, flea and tick, deworming, and anything else that applies to your pet’s health. Questions about exercising and general physical health should also be asked during the veterinary check-up at your local Dartmouth veterinary clinic.
Internal Parasite Issues
The unseen issue that can affect many pets is internal parasites. Many of these parasites can also affect people, so for the safety of everyone involved, it is essential to have your pet undergo testing for them. Prevention and control can be provided at the veterinarian’s office, as well as prescriptions supplied for any long-term treatments. Testing, deworming, and other preventive issues may be suggested, depending on the age and lifestyle of your cat or dog, as well as any other treatments or medications that they might be on at the time. The American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health standards strongly recommend regular deworming.
Heartworm, roundworm, and hookworm are some of the most severe parasites that commonly face pet owners. Roundworms and hookworms can result in serious diseases in pets and people, in particular, small children. Treating your pet for worms is essential for your pet’s health and longevity, as well as for your own. Protection against fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites and pests is an essential part of pet ownership. Consult with your local veterinarian at Anchor Dartmouth veterinary clinic to find out which parasites and pests are the biggest concern in the Southcoast area. Any traveling that you do with your pet outside the New England region should also be discussed with your vet in case there are any inherent risks involved.
Dental Care for Pets
Feline and canine dental care should also be included in your annual check-up for pets. Dental disease can be very serious in pets, especially when left untreated. Home dental care is beneficial as well, providing cleaning that can help to prevent tooth loss and gum disease progression in-between visits. Speak with your veterinarian to schedule a dental veterinary check-up for your pet or to learn more about what you can do to support good dental hygiene at home for your pet.
Contact our team to schedule veterinary services at our Dartmouth veterinary clinic by calling 508-996-3731. We can answer any questions you might have about what to expect at an annual check-up for pets, provide information about feline and canine dental care, and help you schedule an appointment.