When you bring in your young, healthy pet for their annual wellness visit and physical exam, you may wonder why we recommend screening tests. Your pet appears perfectly healthy—after all, they’re only 2 years old—so why should you spend the money on blood work and other tests? But, these screening tests, as well as others that our Town & Country Animal Hospital PC veterinary team may recommend based on your pet’s age, breed, and health status, are a vital part of your pet’s health care plan. Paired with preventive care, like vaccinations and parasite prevention, screening tests can help your four-legged friend live a long and healthy life. Here are five reasons your healthy pet should receive regular wellness screenings.
#1: Pets are masters at hiding illness and disease
Dogs and cats are experts at hiding any signs of pain, illness, or disease, and rarely let their owners know that they are experiencing a health issue. This trait was ideal before pets became domesticated, but now is a hindrance in ensuring your furry pal receives veterinary care as soon as they fall ill. But, when we perform regular wellness screening tests on your pet, we can detect hidden disease signs that we may not otherwise find until your pet is seriously sick. Our screening tests are tools that help us communicate with your pet, and “ask” how they are feeling, long before they display obvious signs.
#2: Regular wellness screening provides a baseline measurement of your pet’s health
Your pet’s health status will likely fluctuate throughout their life. Monitoring their overall health through regular screening tests will provide us with a baseline that we can use to compare with future test results. For example, your pet’s kidney enzyme values have always been at the high end of the normal range, which prompted additional kidney function testing. While these test results in another pet may indicate that kidney disease is approaching, for your pet, they are considered normal. However, if your pet’s kidney values continue to creep up, we know that despite their normal high values, more in-depth testing and closer monitoring is needed.
#3: Regular wellness screening catches problems early on
Regular wellness screening can also be considered early detection testing. Oftentimes, a pet’s blood work and screening test results will indicate a disease process is beginning, long before the pet will show any illness signs. By catching disease in its earliest stage, your pet will be afforded the best prognosis and easiest treatment. Using kidney disease as an example, blood work results will not reveal kidney damage until roughly 75% of kidney function has been lost, yet the pet may still show no signs. However, through regular wellness screening, we can monitor the increasing kidney values over the years, and take preventive action to slow disease and minimize damage, well before those values reach the above-normal range.
#4: Pets age faster than people
Unfortunately, pets do not live as long as their human companions, and this faster aging process can cause seemingly rapid disease development. Your pet ages roughly seven years to your one, so consider the changes in their bodily processes in one year. As pets grow older, they become more prone to a wide variety of conditions that come with age, which is why annual, biannual, or more frequent wellness screening is so important.
#5: Regular wellness screening can help save you money in the long run
Although running diagnostic tests on your pet when they’re healthy may seem like a waste of money, you can actually save you money in the long run. Advanced disease processes are typically more costly to manage and treat, and disease that can be postponed or mitigated through early detection and intervention can save you a great deal. Additionally, advanced disease may require specialist care, extra diagnostic testing, and lifelong medication. Regular wellness screening saves not only your money, but also your pet’s life.
Don’t let your pet’s annual wellness visit pass by. Contact our Town & Country Animal Hospital, PC team to schedule your furry pal’s appointment, and ensure their lifelong happiness and good health.