How many times have you thought about skipping your yearly trip to the vet? Our cat never goes outside or our dog seems perfectly fine. I don’t need to take them in- right? Wrong. Having your pet examined annually is a crucial part of keeping your pet living comfortably for as long as we can.
The owner, doctor and technician’s conversations about things at home can lend clues to a potential body part that needs closer examination. Is there a limp, a lump, a change in odor, itching/scratching, lethargy, changes in appetite or water consumption? Even before the exam begins- has there been a change in weight? All of these questions provide pieces to the puzzle that we are putting together during the appointment.
Exams are done systematically on all body parts. Early diagnosis of all problems can result in a more easily treatable condition. Infections of the ears can come on quickly and be severe, or may start slowly and not show any sign of irritation. We can help get pets comfortable far more rapidly if treated early in the course of disease.
Dental disease, fractured teeth, or items stuck in the mouth have all been found on routine exams. Seeking treatment for early stage dental disease can preserve teeth before the disease worsens further and extractions are needed. Dental disease also predisposes the body to unwanted bacteria in the bloodstream that can set animals up for heart and kidney disease.
Heart changes are sometimes very difficult to diagnose by just visibly looking at a pet. A history and physical examination with a stethoscope will be able to pick up on changes to the heart before the animal is showing distress.
Lumps and bumps, skin disease and parasites such as fleas and ticks are found each and every day in the exam room on a pet of an unsuspecting owner. We can again take corrective measures to get your friend feeling like themselves in no time!
Senior pets often need blood work to look for potential changes to an organ's function. This can guide dietary decisions or even medication decisions that allow you’re pet to live as long and comfortably as possible.
As you can see, the above reasons are all important reasons to schedule your annual (or more often) exam. The sooner we catch a potential problem, the faster we can address and make changes to keep your friend happy and healthy!
As people who love and live with dogs, unfortunately dog bites are something many people experience at some point in their lives. Over 50% of the victims of dog bites are children. Often children are bitten by dogs due to circumstances that could have been prevented with a little training. Any dog can bite under the right circumstances, especially when frightened. Teaching children the following tips can help to decrease their chances of being involved in a dog bite:
For additional dog bite related resources, visit AVMA.org
Dr. Leah Thies