Does your pet really need an annual exam? Yes; we at The Pet Concierge strongly recommend that each pet— even those that appear healthy— undergoes an exam at least once annually (twice a year for pets over the age of 6). Why? Because an animal which is suffering from an illness or injury instinctively tries to hide its pain. This instinctive reaction— which, in the wild, helped to protect an injured or sick animal from attack— often prevents us from seeing symptoms of an injury or other serious medical condition. As emotive and “human” as our pets can appear to be, their stoicism when injured or sick tilts the scales in favor of a cautious, proactive approach.
During a physical exam, doctors should check your pet’s ears, eyes, mouth, skin, heart rate, and respiration to make sure there are no presenting symptoms. The annual exam is an opportunity for vets to look for any subtle changes in your pet that are sometimes easy to miss, such as weight gain or tooth decay. Sometimes, these subtle changes are symptoms of more serious issues.
An annual exam gives you the opportunity to take preventative health measures and catch problems early for your beloved pet. Finding and diagnosing problems early almost always leads to more successful treatment outcomes (and less expensive ones, as well!). To this end, as part of the annual exam, we also recommend getting blood work done; this is particularly important for older animals, as they are more likely to develop health concerns.
Monitoring the condition of your pet’s teeth is one of the most important facets of performing an annual exam. Periodontal disease is a serious concern for all pets, and having regular examinations can help prevent the development of more serious oral problems. Tooth and mouth pain can be severe and highly distressing, and catching these problems early can help to save our pets from having to experience the hardship of dental disease.
Finally, annual exams are a great opportunity for our veterinarians to keep you up to date on new developments in veterinary medicine. There are always new products and methods for taking care of our loved ones, and our veterinarians are eager to pass this information on to our clients. If you have any questions— big or small— about your pet, an annual exam is the perfect opportunity to ask your veterinarian.