Most adults make it a point to see a doctor for an annual physical, allowing the doctor to keep tabs on factors including our weight, eyesight, and hearing. Parents would not dream of skipping a child’s wellness visit to ensure that their children are growing and developing properly. Pet owners should have that same mentality concerning their pets. After all, pets are members of the family, too, and just like humans, it is important to monitor pets as they grow older. Pets can develop many of the same conditions as people, including diabetes and a variety of cancers. They are also at risk of contracting certain parasites and pests. Unlike people, pets cannot tell us when something is wrong, so pet owners need to seek out preventative care for the animals they love. While preventative care services might seem like a large investment up front, keeping your pet healthy saves you the expense of costly treatments later on.
Parasite Prevention and Vaccinations
Keeping your pet properly vaccinated and up-to-date with parasite prevention is one of the most important preventative services your vet offers. He/she will provide core vaccines, which are recommended for all dogs or cats nationwide, as well as other vaccines specific to your area. Core canine vaccines include rabies, canine parvovirus, canine distemper, and canine adenovirus. Core feline vaccines include rabies, feline leukemia virus, feline herpesvirus 1, feline calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia virus. In addition to viral illness, pets are at risk of contracting internal and external parasites such as heartworm, intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks. The annual checkup includes a screening for these parasites, and your vet can recommend monthly treatments that can prevent your pet from contracting any of these parasites. The cost of these preventative measures is much cheaper than treating your pet once infected. And since some of these infections can be spread to humans, you can rest assured that your family is safe as well.
Veterinary Screening Services and Preventative Care
An annual visit to your veterinarian includes much more than just a few shots. When your vet examines your pet, he is screening the animal for overall health and wellness. A trained eye can detect signs of illness in a seemingly healthy pet, catching small problems before they have blossomed into something bigger. For example, your vet will take note of how your pet walks, looking for signs of arthritis. When the veterinarian pets the animal, he checks for lumps under the skin that might indicate thyroid disease. Weight loss may suggest an underlying illness such as cancer. Weight gain is an even more common problem, with as many as 52% of dogs and 58% of cats falling into the category of overweight or obese. Because heavy pets have become so common, owners are often not aware that their furry friends weigh too much, and without a visit to the vet, they never will. As with humans, pet obesity contributes to problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. Therefore, early detection and a change in diet can stave off a host of illnesses and extend your pet’s life. Detecting any of these problems in their infancy gives you the opportunity to treat them now, saving money on future emergency vet visits or expensive treatments.
While some pet owners balk at the cost of an annual veterinary exam or the expense of monthly medications, the long-term savings far outweigh the initial cost. Preventing infections and detecting illness early on save you from expensive interventions, or, even worse, the loss of your beloved pet. Treat your pet like the member of your family that he is with regular preventative care services.