Preventive veterinary care is a fundamental pet health aspect, but these services’ importance is often underestimated. Your responsibility is to ensure that your furry friend lives the healthiest and happiest life possible, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through regular preventive care. Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team explains preventive veterinary care’s importance for pets’ overall health and longevity
Why do pets need preventive care?
A proactive approach to your pet’s health works better than a reactive one. Rather than obtaining care for your furry pal only when they are already sick, preventive and wellness services help maintain your pet’s health at its best. Consider how preventive care supports your pet’s wellbeing:
- Early detection — Preventive care is all about early detection. Routine veterinary visits can help identify potential health problems before they become serious, and in some cases, life-threatening. Conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and dental diseases, can be managed more effectively when detected before they become severe, which can improve your pet’s prognosis significantly.
- Disease protection — Preventive care involves keeping your four-legged friend up-to-date with their vaccinations, helping protect them from myriad diseases.
- Parasite prevention — Preventive care helps protect your pet from dangerous parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms. These parasites can cause a host of health problems, including skin irritation, anemia, and in severe cases, organ damage or death.
- Weight management — Obesity is a significant pet problem that can lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Routine veterinary visits can help you monitor your furry pal’s weight and provide guidance on nutrition and exercise.
- Educational resources — When you bring in your pet for a routine checkup, our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team will discuss your four-legged friend’s health and any concerns to help ensure you understand your pet’s needs and how to support them. In addition, this is a great time to ask any questions you may have about your pet’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
How often do pets need a wellness exam?
Puppies and kittens often need multiple visits during their first year for vaccinations and for growth and development monitoring. Each pet is different, but most young, healthy pets should receive annual wellness care until they reach middle age or senior status. Senior pets may need biannual checkups, as they are more prone to health issues. If your furry pal has chronic health conditions or is on long-term medication, they may also need more frequent checkups. Consult with our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team to determine the best schedule for your individual pet’s needs.
What do pet wellness exams include?
During your pet’s wellness visit, our team provides many essential preventive-care services designed to keep your furry pal happy and healthy for years to come. A comprehensive wellness exam provides a detailed picture of your pet’s health and may prolong their life. As your pet ages, their needs change, so at each visit, their diagnostic testing will be tailored according to their health status, breed, age, and lifestyle. A wellness exam for your pet will include the following:
- Physical examination — Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team will conduct a thorough physical examination to assess your four-legged friend’s overall health status. This includes observing their behavior and assessing their body conditioning score, as well as the following areas:
- Eyes — We can diagnose issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye. Catching these conditions early can help preserve your pet’s eye health and vision.
- Ears — Our team will look for issues, such as ear mites, polyps, and bacterial or yeast infections, which can be painful for your furry pal and lead to serious complications.
- Mouth — We will examine your pet’s mouth and teeth to determine if they need a professional dental cleaning.
- Skin — Hair loss and poor skin condition can indicate issues such as endocrine imbalances, allergies, parasites, and poor nutrition.
- Lungs and heart — Our team will listen to your pet’s heart, lungs, and breathing to ensure your four-legged friend has a normal heart rate and that their breathing sounds normal.
- Lymph nodes, limbs, and joints — We will palpate the lymph nodes in your pet’s head, neck, and hind limb regions to assess for pain or swelling. We will also palpate their limbs and joints, trying to detect lameness, arthritis, and muscle and nerve problems.
- Vaccinations — Regularly vaccinating your pet against potentially deadly infectious diseases will increase their longevity, so our team will recommend vaccinations based on your pet’s species, age, and lifestyle.
- Blood tests — Blood tests provide essential information about your furry pal’s internal organ health, including kidney and liver function, blood sugar levels, and more. Pets are skilled at masking disease signs, and blood work helps us detect whether your pet has an early, underlying illness.
- Thyroid testing — We may recommend thyroid testing for older pets who are more prone to chronic health issues. Abnormal levels of your pet’s thyroid hormone indicate a problem with their metabolic health.
- Urinalysis — By testing your pet’s urine, your veterinarian can evaluate your four-legged friend’s urinary tract and kidneys, and assess for diseases such as diabetes.
- Fecal testing — A fecal test can detect intestinal parasites. External parasites, such as fleas, and internal parasites, such as heartworms and intestinal worms, can cause your pet discomfort and may be deadly. Regular parasite prevention medication will help prevent your pet from contracting parasite-associated diseases.
- Behavioral assessment — Our team may ask about your pet’s behavior, as changes can sometimes indicate health problems. In addition, you should feel free to bring up any behavioral concerns you may have.
Preventive and wellness services help maintain your four-legged friend’s health at its best. These services are an investment in your pet’s health and wellbeing and can help your furry pal live a long, healthy life. Schedule your pet’s next wellness visit with our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team.