Managing your pet’s wellness can add years to your pet’s life. Therefore, creating a wellness plan with your veterinarian should be a priority for all pet owners. Your veterinarian can help you create a plan meeting your concerns and your pet’s needs.
What is a wellness exam?
A wellness exam allows your veterinarian to evaluate your companion’s general health and become aware of any health issues prior to them becoming serious illnesses. Your companion cannot vocalize its feelings; therefore you have to rely on visits to the vet and at-home observations. Your veterinarian may also want to perform diagnostic tests to evaluate your companion’s health, especially if their breed has known congenital health issues.
What is covered during a wellness exam?
- Physical examination
- Update on vaccinations
- Discussion about weight and nutrition
- Testing for parasites
- Blood work
- Receive an overview of dental and ocular (vision) health
- Discuss the quality of life of your companion
Your veterinarian should also do a body condition score on your pet. Like humans, the topic of weight can be a touchy subject for your pet. A body condition score provides an objective way to assess your pet’s weight in comparison to a weight chart. This is the first step towards recognizing and addressing a pet’s potential weight issue.
At a wellness exam, you should discuss your pet’s nutrition. A wellness exam only lasts about 15 to 20 minutes, but it is important to take a few moments to discuss what you are feeding your pet, how often, and how much. Many humans take vitamins, nutritional supplements, or herbal products and, like humans, pets can benefit greatly from them. Pinpointing nutrition problems and learning how to correct them promotes weight management and better overall health and wellness.
Parasite testing is very important. Not only should younger animals be routinely tested but adult animals should as well. Even pets that routinely receive parasite preventative medications should be periodically checked for internal and external parasites.
Blood work also helps in being absolutely certain your pet is in the best of health. Along with blood work, blood pressure measurement is vital. Hypertension can be associated with serious health issues.
One thing that gets overlooked all too often is the dental health of pets. A complete dental exam requires sedation, but during a wellness exam, many veterinarians check over the teeth and gums. These exams detect and look for problems such as dental disease and tartar accumulation. It is important to take your pet’s dental health seriously.
Ocular (Vision) Health
Another thing that is often overlooked is your pet’s ocular health. Don’t dismiss runny eyes or lens cloudiness. Glaucoma is a common problem in senior pets; routine retinal examinations can catch early signs of glaucoma and possible future issues.
Quality of Life
Discussing the quality of life of your pet with your veterinarian is particularly significant. Quality of life issues become predominantly important to owners with senior pets. It is easy to assume “slowing-down” as aging. By doing this, pet owners ignore pain management that signals a change in condition or quality. Be sure to discuss with your veterinarian the quality of life your pet has now and know what signs to look out for, as well as treatable chronic conditions.
Vaccinations are one of the most important preventative measures you can take for your companion’s health. Discuss with your veterinarian what is recommended for your companion based on their breed, environment, and lifestyle. Regular examinations will help your furry friend live a long and healthy life.
Why should owners bring their companions in for a wellness exam?
In the past, a majority of pet owners have only visited their vets when there was an emergency or health problem. Today, more pet owners are engaging in pet wellness care that helps prevent some problems and can increase longevity. Many experts now recommend wellness examinations and screening tests a few times per year. Wellness visits are not just for vaccinations. When owners neglect wellness exams and diagnostic screening, their pets become more at risk for disease, illness, and a shortened life span.
What to do after a wellness exam?
After wellness exams, annual exams, check-ups, or any other veterinary visit, if there are ongoing health issues or concerns, it is extremely important to have a follow-up evaluation done. It is key to monitor your pet’s health. Always revisit diagnostic findings with your veterinarian to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your pet in good health.
Wellness exams do not take a lot of time, but they make a big different in your pet’s well being. Routine exams mean better health and fewer problems. Preventative care, in the long run, can actually save money by avoiding more costly tests, surgeries, or other invasive procedures. Preventative measures can add years to your pet’s life. It also will bring you a peace of mind knowing you are doing everything you can to make your pet as happy and healthy as possible.