Did you know that regular wellness exams are one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy? It’s true. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends all pets receive annual wellness exams at least once every year, and as your pet ages, they suggest an increase in the frequency of visits. When a pet dog or cat misses his or her annual physical examination with a vet, it’s the equivalent to you or me not seeing a doctor for 6 or 7 years!pretty veterinarian listening to a cute dog's heartbeat

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, a whopping 60% of cats could gain an additional four or more years of life if provided with regular annual veterinary care. Because our pet dogs and cats age so much faster than we do, regular veterinary wellness exams are by far the best way to ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life.

When it comes to the health of humans and animals alike, it is a fundamental truth that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A health problem is usually easier and less costly to prevent than it is to treat. Our vets want what’s best for you and your pet, and we love to educate clients in the preventive measures you can take to keep your dog or cat from developing any potentially avoidable problems.

We all want our dogs and cats to live happy, healthy, and long lives. Unfortunately, our pets can’t always tell us if they aren’t feeling their best. Animals are masters at instinctually suppressing signs of illness. By the time most animals can no longer hide how poorly they feel, the underlying cause has most likely been present for quite a while.

Early detection and diagnosis of problems before your pet starts showing symptoms allows our veterinarians to institute treatment at an earlier stage, when most conditions are more responsive to intervention, resulting in a much better long-term results.

Your Pet’s Annual Physical Exam

veterinarian holding catPhysical examinations are an integral component of every healthy pet wellness program. A physical exam allows your vet to detect physical abnormalities that may indicate the presence of illness or injury. It is also an opportunity for your vet to determine if your pet is over- or under-weight, and to generate a weight management plan if necessary.

During a veterinary wellness exam, one of our veterinarians will look over all of your pet’s vital signs. Your veterinarian will ask you to describe your pet dog or cat’s health and history. This will likely include exercise patterns, eating habits, and any unusual behavior.

The veterinarian will also ask you questions specifically targeted towards identifying if any common medical problems are present. Many times, having your vet explain what signs or behaviors to be aware of at home can be particularly important because some conditions will develop gradually with relatively subtle signs, making changes difficult for owners to notice.

In addition to your pet’s physical exam, one of our veterinarians will address the following topics:

  • Parasite Control and Deworming
  • Vaccination Status
  • Labwork (blood, urine, and fecal testing)
  • Dental Health
  • Activity and Exercise
  • Behavior

The veterinary wellness exam is a comprehensive overview of your pet’s health. This includes:

  • Oral and dental health
  • Eye and ear health
  • Cardiothoracic auscultation (heart and lungs)
  • Abdominal palpation
  • Orthopedic health (bones and joints)
  • Neurologic assessment
  • Rectal examination
  • Lymph node palpation
  • Skin and coat health

Think of it as a simple and effective way of broadly monitoring your pet’s overall health and general well-being. Veterinary wellness examinations are not painful and do not require a barrage of complicated or costly medical tests and treatments. They are merely a means of assessing if everything is ok and functioning properly. A wellness examination also gives our veterinarians the opportunity to assess and record baseline health values, such as body weight, temperature, and lab test results. By measuring these things when your pet is healthy, we’re able to provide better care and more easily identify the sometimes subtle abnormalities that may arise when something is wrong.

One of our veterinarians may also perform diagnostic tests such as blood work, urinalysis or intestinal parasite tests during a wellness exam, and vaccines may also be needed and administered at this time.

Let our highly trained and experienced team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians help you keep your pet as happy and healthy as they can be.

Call the Animal Clinic of Billings to schedule your pets next wellness examination with us today!