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Posted on 09-25-2015

Does My Pet Really Need An Annual Exam?

Just like humans, pets should go to the doctor on a yearly basis. Don't avoid the annual exam, your vet takes these appointments seriously. You should, too.

If your dog is older or has medical problems, he may need even more frequent examinations. A year is a long time in a dog's life. Assuming our pets will live to their early teens, receiving a yearly exam means they will only have about thirteen exams in a lifetime. That is not very many when you think about it.

A lot of things happen during an annual veterinary examination. Almost every part of your dog or cat gets checked out, and that can have huge benefits. Your pet's annual exam is a chance for your vet to look for problems before they become serious, give you advice on overcoming behavioral issues you may struggle with and generally guide you on the path to keeping your pet healthy and happy for as long as possible.

Patient Risks and Lifestyles Change

The strongest argument I have heard for continuing annual physical examinations on the human side of medicine has nothing to do with taking temperatures, running lab tests, listening to chests or asking patients to turn their heads and cough. The single most important reason for a physical examination is making time to review patients’ medical histories and to discuss health risks associated with their individual lifestyles and activities.

Likewise, these discussions in regard to pets have great benefit. Vaccination decisions, food choices, exercise routines, parasite control products and behavioral training measures should all be based on each pet’s lifestyle. The activities that your pet participates in, the environment where he or she lives and his or her specific health risks all change over time and with age. These issues need to be reviewed with a veterinarian on a regular basis to help ensure long-term wellness.

History Is Important

Understanding what is “normal” for a pet is of great importance when veterinarians are faced with potentially abnormal findings. When we treat patients who have not been to a veterinarian for extended periods of time, I find myself wondering things like “Is this pet losing weight? If so, how much?” and “Are these blood chemistry levels increasing?” The unfortunate truth is that if no one has investigated or recorded these values previously, I don’t have any basis for comparison. That makes finding meaningful health trends more difficult. Having routine examinations helps establish a normal baseline for each pet, making it much more obvious when something happens that is abnormal.

Call Phoenix Veterinary Center today for your pet's annual exam at 602-559-5500 or book online. Their health depends on it!

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