Check-ups, updates, annual services, shots, exams, and vaccines—these terms are frequently used in reference to a pet’s yearly veterinary visit, but they only scratch the surface.
Your pet’s annual wellness or preventive care appointment is more than routine—it’s a valuable opportunity for your veterinary team to measure your pet’s health and wellbeing, strengthen their immune system, detect hidden disease, and provide you with personalized guidance for your pet’s optimal daily care.
If you’re tempted to postpone your pet’s routine wellness care because they “look healthy” or “seem fine,” learn how regular wellness screenings benefit your pet in this Madison Street Animal Hospital guide.
One visit, countless advantages—pet wellness screenings
Dogs and cats instinctively hide pain, illness, and weakness to protect themselves, so by the time you notice your pet is sick, their condition may be too advanced for treatment. Routine wellness screenings give your beloved companion an unparalleled health advantage—and a potentially longer life—with benefits that include:
- Early disease detection — Through hands-on assessment and diagnostic testing, your veterinarian can identify subtle changes that can signal developing disease. Routine blood work can pinpoint abnormal organ function, hormone dysregulation, and chronic hidden conditions.
- Less invasive, more affordable treatment — Early diagnosis affords your pet less invasive treatments and more economical measures, such as medical management, outpatient procedure, diet change, or lifestyle modification.
- Better outcomes — Early stage illnesses, diseases, and injuries will more likely respond to treatment, leading to better outcomes and longer-lived pets.
What’s included in your pet’s wellness visit
Veterinary wellness care is essential at every life stage. As your pet ages, we will tailor our recommendations to meet their individual needs. We’ll use our knowledge of your pet and your information to ensure your pet has the health protection they need for every adventure—whether they’re taking to the trail or taking over your couch.
Here’s a sample of what your pet may encounter during a wellness screening visit.
- The physical examination — Your pet’s hands-on evaluation involves assessing their major body systems, including eyes, ears, teeth, skin, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary. Your veterinarian relies on their eyes and hands to identify abnormalities that may suggest pain, injury, poor health, or disease.
- Vaccinations — Your pet’s vaccines build their immune health foundation and infectious disease protection. After the standard puppy and kitten vaccines, your veterinarian will create a customized vaccination protocol based on your pet’s lifestyle, risk factors, and health to ensure effective protection without the dangers of over-vaccination.
- Care recommendations — Our recommendations will include individualized guidance for your pet’s nutrition, exercise, weight, behavior, and training, and are especially valuable for young and elderly pets, who may need additional care, assistance, and support.
- Heartworm testing — Heartworm disease is a life-threatening but preventable parasitic disease that damages the heart and lungs. Dogs and cats are vulnerable to heartworm disease, although treatment is available only for dogs. Year-round prevention is the first line of defense, while annual testing ensures your pet is infection-free.
- Tick-borne disease screening — Ticks can transmit harmful diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis, so a tick-borne disease test that screens your pet’s blood for exposure and infection is necessary.
- Intestinal parasite screening — Also known as a fecal floatation, this test detects intestinal parasites or eggs, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, giardia, and coccidia, in your pet’s stool. Although parasite infections range in severity, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, malnutrition, and anemia—especially in puppies and kittens. Yearly fecal testing also protects two-legged family members by screening your pet for zoonotic parasites (i.e., those transmitted from pets to people).
- Routine blood work — Blood work benefits aren’t limited to sick or preoperative pets. Annual blood work is perhaps the most powerful diagnostic screening tool for your Madison Street Animal Hospital to detect early health changes and diseases, sometimes months or years before visible signs appear. Treatment for early stage disease is often more successful, less invasive, and more affordable.
- Parasite prevention — Your pet’s wellness appointment is a great opportunity to review their current parasite prevention plan and make changes if necessary. Our veterinarians can recommend many safe and effective products that will protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and heartworm disease.
- Nutrition — Your pet’s food fuels their body processes, promotes growth and development, and plays a key role in their health and vitality. Inappropriate diets—including store-bought pet foods—and inaccurate feeding regimens are major contributors to life-altering conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. At your pet’s wellness visit we’ll review their current diet, and—if necessary—recommend a diet that will suit their individual needs and promote a healthy body weight.
Your pet’s lifelong health depends on your yearly decision to visit Madison Street Animal Hospital for their annual wellness screenings. Our comprehensive health assessment provides you with a detailed evaluation of your pet’s current health and—with early detection—a glimpse into their future. Contact our expert team to schedule your pet’s next visit.
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