During a regular pet checkup, your veterinarian will carefully examine your pet for signs of sickness, internal health problems, and any significant issues that might require attention. Our Lincoln vets highlight the vital importance of these scheduled checkups.
Why are routine vet checkups important?
Make sure to schedule your pet's routine physical exam with the vet once or twice a year, even if your pet seems perfectly fine. These regular checkups are essential for keeping your pet healthy.
When you take your healthy pet to the vet for regular visits, the vet can evaluate their overall health, test for any potential illnesses or diseases, and identify conditions that respond well to early treatments.
During the checkup, the vet aims to prevent possible health issues and detect early signs of diseases before they become severe problems. This proactive approach helps ensure your pet's well-being.
How often should my pet attend a vet checkup?
Your pet's medical background and age determine how often the vet recommends bringing them in for a checkup.
For pets like cats, dogs, and others, if they have a past illness but are currently healthy, it's best to schedule two vet appointments each year. This helps ensure your pet's ongoing health. The vet will assess your pet and advise on the right frequency for checkups.
Because young animals like puppies and kittens are still building their immune systems, they might be more prone to sickness compared to adults. To keep them healthy, your vet might suggest monthly checkups during their initial months.
Usually, a grown-up cat or dog without prior illnesses should have an annual vet checkup. However, certain pets, like senior animals and large breeds, have a higher risk of conditions and might need more frequent visits to catch any potential issues early. In such cases, biannual cat or dog checkups are recommended.
How to Prepare
Your veterinarian will require some essential medical details about your dog or cat, particularly if it's their first appointment. Remember to bring along notes about the following aspects of your pet:
- Tick bites
- Eating and drinking habits
- Toilet habits
- Current medications (names and doses)
- Recent travel history
- Past medical records, including vaccine history
- Food (what kind do they eat)
You may also want to bring a favorite blanket or toys for comfort. While dogs should be on a leash, cats should be in a carrier.
What does a checkup for pets involve?
When you take your pet to the vet, the doctor will look at your pet's medical history and discuss any health worries you have. They will also ask about your pet's food, exercise, bathroom habits, and overall behavior.
Sometimes, you might need to provide a fresh poop sample so the vet can check for parasites. This test helps find hidden problems that could harm your pet.
After that, the vet will examine your pet. They'll cover the basics and might do more if your pet needs extra attention.
- Using a stethoscope to listen to your pet's lungs and heart
- Checking your pet's nails and feet for signs of significant health concerns or damage
- Inspecting your cat's or dog's skin for numerous issues — from bumps or lumps (especially in folds of skin) to dryness and parasites
- Looking into the eyes for signs of cloudiness, discharge, excessive tearing, cloudiness, or redness. I will also look for issues with eyelids
- Feeling the abdomen to check whether internal organs appear normal and to check for signs of pain or discomfort
- Examining your pet's ears for signs of wax buildup, polyps, ear mites, or bacterial infection
- Examining your furry companion's coat to assess overall condition, as well as look for signs of abnormal hair loss or dandruff
- Inspecting the condition of the teeth for any indications of decay, damage, or periodontal disease
- Checking for any signs of illness by feeling along your pet's body (palpating). These symptoms include lameness or limited range of motion, or signs of swelling or pain
- Measuring your pet's gait, stance, and weight
If no issues are detected along the way, your vet can likely run through this list quickly and seamlessly — they may even chat with you as they do so. If an issue is identified, your vet will explain what they have noticed and recommend the next steps or potential treatments.
Annual vaccinations are also administered during a cat or dog checkup based on your animal's appropriate schedule.
Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Pets
In addition to regular checkups and tests, your veterinarian might suggest extra wellness tests for your pet. Keep in mind that often, finding and treating a health problem early is less costly and less invasive than dealing with it in a later, more advanced stage.
Tests for blood count, thyroid hormone testing, and urinalysis may be done in addition to diagnostic testing such as X-rays and imaging.
Ending the Vet Checkup
After your pet's checkup, tests, and yearly shots, your vet will talk to you about what they found. If they discover any issues, they might suggest further tests or treatments.
If your pet is in good health, the discussion could cover ways to enhance their exercise, diet, and oral care. As well, as ensure they're protected from parasites.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.