Ensure your pet stays happy by scheduling regular wellness exams. These check-ups help your vet spot early signs of command issues and keep track of your pet's overall well-being.
My pet looks healthy, why should I bring them to the vet?
A wellness exam is like a regular check-up for your pet by the vet, even if the pet seems fine. Attending wellness exams a few times a year is an excellent way to make sure your pet achieves optimal health.
Regular vet visits for your healthy pet let the vet keep an eye on their overall health. It also allows them to check for diseases while they are in their early stages when they can benefit the most from treatment. Your pet's routine wellness exams are aimed at preventing conditions when possible and spotting the early signs of illness so they can be treated before they become much more serious.
How often should my pet have a wellness exam?
How often your pet needs wellness check-ups depends on their age and medical history.
If your pet is perfectly healthy but has a history of illness, consider talking them to the vet twice a year or as advised by our vet. They'll tell you that it may be a good call to take them to see your vet twice a year or more to make sure that they stay as healthy as possible. Your vet will let you know how often your pet should come in for their wellness exams.
Puppies and kittens are more susceptible to diseases, so that monthly check-ups may be recommended for the first few months.Usually, adult dogs and cats without a history of illness should see the vet once a year. But for senior pets and large breed dogs, more frequent check-ups, like twice a year, are often suggested to catch any issues early.
What does a wellness examination for pets involve?
When you do come to a wellness exam with one of our Woburn Animal Hospital vets, we will review your pet's medical history with you and speak with you about any concerns you might have. We might also ask about your pet's diet, exercise routine, lifestyle, thirst levels, urination, bowel movements, and general behavior.
In some cases, you will also be asked to bring a fresh sample of your pet's feces in order to conduct a fecal exam. Fecal exams, or fecals, help your vet identify the presence of intestinal parasites in your pet, which are otherwise very difficult to detect.
Next, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your pet, which will typically include the following (and often much more):
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to assess whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
If your vet doesn't find any issues during the wellness exam, the list of checks and tests they have to run will breeze by. Your vet may even maintain a conversation with you as they go through the process. If they detect something, however, they will be sure to take the time to explain what they have noticed and recommend the next steps or treatments.
Annual vaccinations will also be given at your pet's wellness exam based on the appropriate schedule for your animal.
Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Pets
In addition to the basics of the wellness examination, your vet may also recommend additional wellness testing for your pet. When you're making the decision about whether to have your pet undergo additional testing, it's important to remember that the early detection and treatment of a disease is always less expensive and less invasive than treating an advanced condition.
The following tests screen for a range of conditions and can help detect the very earliest signs of illness before symptoms appear:
- Complete blood count (CDC)
- Thyroid hormone testing
If your pet is a senior animal or a giant breed dog, more detailed diagnostic testing may also be recommended, including X-rays and other imaging.
At The End of The Wellness Exam
After your vet finishes checking your pet and running tests, they will give your pet its yearly shots and talk to you about their findings.
Your vet will discuss the diagnosis and treatment choices with you if they find any health issues. If your pet is in good shape, the talk may center on better diet and exercise, taking care of your pet's teeth, and how to prevent parasites.