When you take your 399pet for a regular checkup, the veterinarian will carefully examine your pet for any signs of illness, internal damage, or conditions that need to be diagnosed and treated. Our vets at Hohenwald explain why it's essential to schedule routine veterinary checkups for your pet.
Why are routine vet checkups important?
It's important to schedule a routine physical examination for your pet with a veterinarian at least once a year, regardless of how healthy they may seem. These checkups are essential in ensuring your pet's overall well-being throughout their life.
By taking your healthy pet to see the vet, you're giving them the opportunity to assess their health, habits, and nutritional needs. This allows them to detect any diseases, illnesses, or medical needs that require attention, including catching serious diseases in their earliest stages.
Early treatment is crucial for these types of conditions. During the checkup, the vet aims to prevent health issues from developing whenever possible and identify early symptoms of diseases so they can be treated before they become more serious problems.
How often should my pet attend a vet checkup?
Based on your pet's medical history and age, it's important to determine how often they should visit the veterinarian for a checkup. If your pet has a history of illness but is currently healthy, we recommend scheduling at least two checkups per year to ensure their continued well-being. Our vets can assess your pet's medical history and advise you on how frequently they should visit us.
Young pets are particularly vulnerable to illness while their immune systems are still developing, so it may be necessary to schedule monthly checkups for puppies and kittens during their first few months. Adult dogs and cats with a clean bill of health should typically see us once per year, but certain pets - such as senior dogs and cats or larger breeds - may require more frequent routine care due to their increased susceptibility to illnesses and conditions. For these pets, we suggest scheduling two checkups per year.
How to Prepare
Your vet will need the following basic medical information about your canine or feline companion, especially if this is your pet's first visit. Bring notes on your animal's:
- Tick bites
- Toilet habits
- Eating and drinking habits
- Recent travel history
- Food (what kind do they eat)
- Current medications (names and doses)
- Past medical records, including vaccine history
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 bringing your furry friend to the veterinarian, our vets will review their medical history and ask about any concerns you might have. They will also inquire about your pet's diet, exercise routine, thirst levels, bowel movements, urination, and other general aspects of their life and behavior.
In some cases, you may be asked to bring a fresh sample of your pet's feces for a fecal exam to identify any problematic intestinal parasites that may be difficult to detect otherwise. Next, the vet will physically examine your pet, covering the following points and taking more time if necessary, depending on your pet's needs.
- Measuring your pet’s gait, stance, and weight
- Using a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s lungs and heart
- Looking into the eyes for signs of cloudiness, discharge, excessive tearing, cloudiness or redness. Will also look for issues with eyelids
- 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
- Feeling the abdomen to check whether internal organs appear normal, and to check for signs of pain or discomfort
- Checking your pet’s nails and feet for signs of significant health concerns or damage
- Examining your pet’s ears for signs of wax buildup, polyps, ear mites or bacterial infection
- Inspecting the condition of the teeth for any indications of decay, damage or periodontal disease
- Examining your furry companion’s coat to assess overall condition, as well as look for signs of abnormal hair loss or dandruff
- Inspecting your cat’s or dog’s skin for numerous issues — from bumps or lumps (especially in folds of skin) to dryness and parasites
If your vet doesn't detect any issues along the way, they will likey be able to run through this list of checks quite quickly. They may even be able o hold a casual conversation with you as they do so! If an issues is identified by your vet, they will explain what they have noticed and will recommend next steps or potential treatments for your pet.
Annual vaccinations are also administered during a cat or dog checkup, based on your animal’s appropriate schedule.
Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Pets
Alongside the standard basic checks listed above, our vets may also recommend additional wellness testing or diagnostics. In many cases, the early detection and treatment of diseases is far less expensive and invasive than having the condition treated once it has become much more advanced.
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
Once your pet has undergone a thorough examination, testing, and received their annual vaccinations or preventive treatments, our veterinary team will provide a detailed explanation of the findings.
If the vet notices any signs of injury or illness, they will suggest additional diagnostic tests or potential treatment options to aid in your pet's recovery.
In the event that your pet is in good health, the conversation may center around ways to improve your pet's exercise and diet routines, maintaining your pet's oral hygiene, and ensuring that necessary parasite prevention measures are being taken.
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.