Wellness Screening for Pets: What Is It, and Why Is It So Important?

During your pet’s wellness visit, our All Creatures Animal Hospital veterinarian performs many essential preventive-care tasks designed to keep your furry pal happy and healthy for years to come. Regular wellness screenings are the cornerstone of these visits, and should not be skipped, no matter how healthy your pet seems to you. To highlight the importance of regular pet wellness screenings, our team answers some questions that pet owners most frequently ask about this aspect of veterinary care.

Question: What wellness screening tests should my pet undergo regularly?

Answer: As your pet ages, their wellness screening needs change, so at each visit, their tests will be tailored according to their health status, breed, age, and lifestyle. Common wellness screening tests for pets include:

  • Physical exam — During your pet’s physical exam, which assesses your pet’s overall health status, our veterinarian will look at their eyes, ears, mouth, skin and hair coat, gait, and demeanor. They will also listen to your pet’s heart and lungs, palpate their abdomen, and ask if you have noticed any issues at home. The physical exam is an opportunity to detect abnormalities that require additional testing to determine the cause or severity, and diseases that will benefit from early detection and treatment. 
  • Parasite testing — Pets are exposed to many different parasites that can cause gastrointestinal illness, heartworm disease, and tick-borne illnesses, and lead to serious health issues. Treating parasitic infections early is important for preventing long-term damage.
  • Blood work — Standard blood work, which typically includes a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry panel, evaluates your pet’s internal health. A CBC checks for anemia, infection, inflammation, dehydration, and clotting issues. A chemistry panel assesses your pet’s kidneys and liver function, and can be used to diagnose diabetes, electrolyte abnormalities, and other conditions. Thyroid testing may also be recommended for older pets, who often develop thyroid disease. 

As your pet reaches middle-age or senior status, we may recommend additional wellness testing, including a urinalysis to assess kidney function and a blood pressure test to help monitor their general health.

Q: How do wellness screenings prevent disease?

A: Regular wellness screenings are useful for detecting diseases in their earliest stages, long before clinical signs appear. We can monitor your pet’s normal values over time and spot subtle changes that may indicate early stage disease processes. Treatment is more effective when diseases, including chronic conditions (e.g., arthritis, chronic renal failure), are detected early, and may prolong your pet’s life.

Q: How does wellness screening save me money?

A: You may think wellness screening is a waste of money when your pet appears perfectly healthy, but spending only a small amount each year can save you money in the long run. If you wait until your pet’s illness signs are obvious before seeking diagnostic testing, health issues are more likely found in their advanced stages when treatment is much more difficult and costly. For example, without regular wellness exams, you may not realize your pet has progressive dental disease until they refuse to eat. At that point, they likely require advanced oral surgery and extractions, which could have been prevented if our veterinarian caught early dental disease signs and your pet received routine professional dental cleanings.

Q: How often should my pet have a wellness screening?

A: Each pet is different, so your pet may require more frequent wellness screening tests than your neighbor’s pet. However, most young, healthy pets should receive annual wellness care until they reach middle age or senior status. Then, depending on their health status, breed, and lifestyle, they may need wellness screening every three to six months. This frequency may seem excessive, but keep in mind that pets age much faster than humans, and can be affected by many health changes in a short period of time.

Is it time for your pet’s regular wellness screening? Contact our All Creatures Animal Hospital team and schedule this essential appointment to keep your furry pal happy and healthy, and able to spend more years by your side.

By |2024-02-15T00:13:23+00:00January 10th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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