Bringing your pet in for annual routine exams allows our Zeeland vets to monitor your pet's health, check for early signs of health issues, and to provide preventative vaccinations and parasite treatments to protect your pet from serious health problems.
Why Should I Bring My Pet to the Vet if They Seem Healthy?
The goal of preventative care is to maintain your pet's health and to provide them with the care they need. In doing so, you give your pet their best chance at a long, healthy, and happy life. Preventative care begins with routine prevention exams, scheduled either once or twice per year depending on your pet's unique needs.
These routine exams are physical checkups for your pet.
By bringing your pet in to see our vets, even when they appear to be perfectly healthy, you are giving our Zeeland Veterinary Service team the opportunity to check in on and monitor your pet's health over time and diagnose and treat medical issues early and at their most treatable. It also allows us to provide preventative care like parasite treatments and vaccinations to keep your pet feeling their best.
How Often Do I Need to Bring My Pet in for Preventive Care?
Our veterinarians advise our clients to bring their pets in for yearly routine wellness exams. However, every pet is different and has different needs. Because of this, the frequency you should bring your furry companion into our office will vary based on their age, medical history, and more.
Puppies and kittens tend to be vulnerable to health conditions that adult pets can resist with ease. This is true for senior or geriatric pets as well. You should bring your young or old pet in for a checkup much more frequently than you would an adult. For puppies and kittens under a year old, every month, and senior pets, twice a year.
What Happens at a Routine Exam?
When you bring your pet into our Zeeland animal hospital, our team will walk through their medical history and inquire about any specific concerns you might have with their health.
In some cases, we will have already asked you to bring in a sample of your pet's stool to conduct a fecal exam. We will take this sample and examine it for signs of common intestinal parasites which may be otherwise difficult to detect.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Examining your pet's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- 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
Because our animal companions aren't able to tell us when they are uncomfortable or in pain, this help to check how your pet is generally feeling.
Vaccinations are designed to protect your pet against contagious, common, and possibly even life-threatening diseases. The vaccines which we recommend for your pet will be based on where you live and what your pet's lifestyle is like.
There are core vaccines that we recommend for all pets and there are "lifestyle vaccines" which are recommended for pets who are often in contact with other animals. Your pet will require booster shots regularly to maintain their protection against diseases. In most instances, boosters are given to your pet annually, or, once every three years. Our vets will let you know when your pet's booster shots are due.
Pet Parasite Prevention
Parasites are a major health threat to pets. Mosquitos and ticks carry dangerous parasites which can invade your pet's body and cause fatal conditions. Because of this, our vets will always recommend ways for you to prevent parasites from invading your pet. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their owners.
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
Is Preventive Care Expensive?
When compared to the cost of treating an advanced form of a condition, disease, or disorder, routine preventative healthcare for your pet will save you money.
Not only that, but preventative veterinary care will also ensure that your pet experiences a minimum amount of pain or discomfort from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected in your pet, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
How To Prepare For Your Pet's Preventive Exam
Preparing for your cat or dog's preventive care appointment can make the process easier and less stressful for both you and your pet.
- Schedule an appointment slot where you have no time restrictions because the length of the exam will depend on your pet's breed and medical condition.
- If this is your first time bringing your pet to our clinic arrive about 10 minutes early to fill out the new patient forms.
- Bring records of your pet's medical history and past and present medications and dosages. Take notes of your pet's food, exercise routine, and bowel movements to help your vet understand your pet's lifestyle.
- Inform your vet of any recent or previous tick bites.
- Your vet may ask you to bring in a fresh sample of your pet's stool for a fecal exam or a urine sample for a urine test.
- To help your pet stay calm at their appointment bring their favorite blanket or toy.
- Record any symptoms or behaviors that your cat or dog is displaying that's concerning you to share with the veterinarian.
- Prepare any questions you have for your vet ahead of time.
- Call your vet to ask them if it is okay for your furry friend to eat before their appointment ( some tests require fasting).
- Make sure to bring your cat or small dog in a carrier, if you have a larger dog keep them on a leash
- Ask for a cost estimate and Inform your vet of your budget so they can adjust the exams accordingly.
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.