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Why Are Regular Veterinary Checkups Important?

Why Are Regular Veterinary Checkups Important?

Yearly veterinary checkups and exams for your cat or dog let your vet to monitor your pet's health and well-being, to check for signs of disease and to provide preventative and proactive treatments to your pet against serious conditions. Here, our Zeeland veterinary team explains the benefits of routine checkups for your pet.

Why book a dog checkup or cat checkup if my pet seems healthy?

Preventative veterinary care is all about maintaining your pet's good health and giving them the care they need for their best possible chance at a long, happy and healthy life. Preventative care for dogs and cats begins routine exams—either once or twice per year— depending on the unique needs of your pet companion. 

These routine exams are vet checkups for your beloved four-legged friend.

By bringing your cat or dog in to your vet for a checkup, even when they seem completely normal, you are giving your veterinarian a chance to monitor your pet for early signs of disease, maintain their health and prevent disease or parasites with proactive treatments. This way, your very can help to keep your cat or dog looking and feeling their very best.

Catching health issues including parasites, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues early, before obvious symptoms appear, means that treatment can begin early when it is most effective.

How often should I need to bring my pet in for a checkup?

Our vets recommend annual checkups for most dogs and cats. However, each pet is different and has different needs - especially as they age. This is why the frequency of your pet's checkups will depend on the age and medical history of your dog or cat.

Puppies and kittens are often susceptible to health conditions that can be resisted by adults quite easily. This is also true for geriatric and senior pets. You should consider bringing your puppy or kitten in for routine checkups far more frequently than and older pet in order to start them off on the right foot. This should be at least once per month for kittens and puppies who are under a year old. For senior pets, you should bring them in to your Zeeland vet at least twice per year.

What's involved in a vet checkup for dogs and cats?

When bringing your pet into Zeeland Veterinary Service for a checkup, our veterinary team will review their medical history and ask you about any specific concerns or health issues you might have identified in your four-legged friend.

In some instances, we will have asked you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order to do a fecal exam. We will take that sample and examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites which would be very difficult to detect otherwise. 

After these first steps, your vet will conduct a comprehensive physical checkup on your pet which will usually include any number of the following:

  • Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
  • Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
  • Examining your pet's feet and nails for any signs of damage or more serious health concerns
  • Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
  • Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
  • Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
  • Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
  • Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
  • Feel your pet's abdomen to check whether their internal organs seem to be normal as well as for any signs of discomfort
  • Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge

All of these tests are meant to detect signs of any health problems your pet may be experiencing. Since our dogs and cats can't tell us when they are uncomfortable, these tests and checks help to determine how your furry friend is generally feeling.

What about getting my pet their shots?

Vaccinations are designed to protect your pet against contagious, common and quite possible life-threatening diseases. The vaccines recommended for your cat to dog will be based on their lifestyle and where you live. 

Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet checkout our vaccine schedule.

Adult pets will need to get "booster shots" routinely in order to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases, boosters are given out annually or every three years. Your veterinarian will be able to let you know when your cat or dog's booster shots are due.

Does my pet really need parasite prevention?

Parasites can be a pressing health concern for pet owners in Zeeland. Mosquitos and ticks carry parasites or bacteria that can invade your pet's body and cause them to develop potentially life-threatening conditions and diseases. Because of this, you're very will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your companion. It's also important for you to know that some of the parasites that affect your poet can be transferred to you as well!

Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:

  • Fleas
  • Lyme Disease
  • Babesiosis
  • Hookworms
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Roundworms 
  • Whipworm
  • Tapeworms
  • Heartworm

Is preventive care expensive?

When compared to treating the advanced forms of disorders, diseases and conditions, routinely scheduled wellness exams will save you money.

Not only that, but routine checkups will help to ensure that your pet doesn't experience all of the pain or discomfort of health issues they might experience. The sooner our vets can detect a medical issue, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated, and the less time your pet is sick.

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.

Has your dog or cat had their annual routine checkup this year? Book an appointment with the veterinary team at Zeeland Veterinary Service today.

Caring for Pets in Zeeland

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

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