Most young and middle-aged adult pets visit their veterinarian less often, because these pets usually have fewer health issues than their puppy, kitten, or senior counterparts. Overlooking your pet’s annual veterinary visit, or declining wellness screening tests, is easy when your pet appears healthy on the outside. Why spend money on these tests when your pet seems perfectly fine?
Our All Creatures Animal Hospital team wants pet owners to understand why wellness visits and screening tests are worthwhile, and how they can keep your pet healthier over time. Here are the top reasons why you should invest in your pet’s preventive care, and why wellness screenings are worthwhile, despite normal results.
#1: Wellness screenings establish your pet’s baseline values
Blood tests aren’t as straightforward as they may seem—they require interpretation by a skilled and educated veterinary professional. While our laboratory provides us with “normal” reference ranges for each blood value, a value outside this range may be considered normal for an individual pet. When we run blood tests on young, apparently healthy pets, we can determine whether a value slightly outside this range is their normal, or if they require further testing. Once we establish your pet’s normal value, we have a basis for comparison should your pet get sick. We can also compare annual blood screenings to the baseline year over year, to look for trends we may not have identified otherwise.
#2: Wellness screenings catch early stage diseases
Pets age faster than people, and their disease processes can also progress at a faster rate. A normal test one year does not guarantee your pet will remain healthy in the coming months, but frequent wellness screenings help us identify these changes as soon as they happen. Your pet will not show clinical signs in the early stages of many chronic diseases that routine wellness tests will identify before they progress.
Most diseases respond better to treatment when we detect them early, and we can sometimes reverse the disease or significantly slow progression, resulting in a longer life for your pet. Also, treating disease early can save you money, because advanced disease care is often more expensive. And, wellness screenings for your young puppy or kitten prior to their spay or neuter surgery help identify congenital diseases that could impact their overall growth and development.
#3: Wellness screenings ensure parasite control efficacy
Parasite prevention is key for your pet’s preventive care, and we recommend that all pets receive flea, tick, heartworm, and intestinal parasite preventives year-round. However, parasites can occasionally develop resistance to these medications, so we need to monitor the preventive’s efficacy. Therefore, we perform annual fecal and blood heartworm testing to ensure your pet is free from intestinal parasites and heartworms that could significantly and negatively impact their health.
#4: Wellness visits allow full assessment of other preventive care needs
During your pet’s annual wellness screenings, we will also perform a full physical examination and discuss their other preventive care needs. Vaccinations, parasite control selection, weight control, a dental health assessment, and a behavioral health consultation may be required, depending on your individual pet. This is also a great time for you to ask questions about your pet’s health or overall care.
#5: Wellness screenings provide peace of mind
For those who worry about their pet’s health, wellness screening tests can provide peace of mind. You cannot tell from the outside if your pet is truly healthy, but wellness screenings provide all the information you need to calm your anxiety.
Wellness screening test protocols
Our team recommends that all pets visit at least once per year for a full wellness examination and age-appropriate wellness screening tests. Senior pets should visit twice per year, or as directed by their veterinarian. Depending on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and other health conditions, recommended tests may include:
- Fecal examination
- Heartworm test
- Blood chemistry
- Complete blood count
- Urine culture
- Blood pressure test
- Heart EKG
Keeping your pet happy and healthy starts with regular wellness visits that help our team prevent illness, establish baseline normal values, and detect changes or diseases early, when we can manage them more easily. Call the All Creatures Animal Hospital team to schedule your pet’s next wellness visit, or to learn more about tests we recommend for your pet.
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