Regular wellness screenings are a crucial part of your pet’s health care plan and can help improve your pet’s longevity and quality of life. Our Town and Country Animal Hospital team wants your pet to live their healthiest life, so we explain the benefits of regular wellness screenings for your four-legged friend.
#1: Regular wellness screenings provide a normal baseline for your pet
Every pet is an individual, and examining your healthy pet helps our team establish their normal baseline values, so we can more easily detect minor changes. When we see slight variations in factors, such as heart sounds and diagnostic test results, compared with your pet’s normal baseline, we know that could indicate a health complication, which helps us identify problems as early as possible.
#2: Regular wellness screenings protect your pet from disease
A regular wellness visit is a great time to vaccinate your pet and protect them from many dangerous diseases. Our veterinary team will consider your pet’s lifestyle and infection risk and devise a tailor-made vaccination protocol to help prevent illness.
#3: Regular wellness screenings provide valuable information about your pet’s health
Pets tend to hide their illnesses. In the wild, predators target vulnerable animals, and your pet retains this instinct, despite not having to worry about being eaten in your living room. This means pets frequently act completely normal until their condition is in the advanced stages. A regular wellness screening includes many diagnostics, such as a physical exam, complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis, that can detect problems in the early stages when they are easier to treat and manage. Conditions we may identify during a regular wellness screening include:
- Cancer — Cancer is common in pets, especially older pets, but the condition is frequently treatable if diagnosed early.
- Heart disease — Conditions such as heart valve degeneration, heart muscle disease, and irregular heart rate and rhythm can cause heart disease in pets. During a regular wellness screening, we auscultate your pet’s heart, and can detect problematic arrhythmias and murmurs. If we suspect a heart condition, we may recommend further diagnostics, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), chest X-rays, and ultrasound.
- Kidney disease — Chronic kidney disease is common in senior pets, especially cats, but most show no signs until the condition is advanced. A biochemistry profile measures waste products in your pet’s blood, and elevated values can indicate kidney disease. A urinalysis evaluates the urine’s pH, concentration, and content, and is also helpful for diagnosing kidney disease.
- Diabetes — Uncontrolled diabetes can cause significant health complications for your pet, so we perform a biochemistry profile to measure blood glucose levels and check for normal values.
#4: Regular wellness screenings protect your pet from pain
Many pets hide pain, but our veterinary team is trained to recognize subtle signs and test for conditions that may cause pain or discomfort. Potential painful conditions include:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) — OA is a degenerative joint disease that causes permanent deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the joints, and can lead to significant pain and decreased mobility. During a wellness screening, our veterinary team evaluates your pet’s gait, and palpates and manipulates their joints to assess for pain and decreased range of motion. If we suspect OA, we may recommend X-raying the affected area.
- Dental disease — Dental disease, which affects approximately 80% of dogs and 70% of cats by the age of 3 years, can lead to many problems, such as swollen gums, loose teeth, and tooth root abscesses, that can cause significant oral pain. If we suspect your pet has dental disease, we may recommend a professional veterinary dental cleaning.
#5: Regular wellness screenings protect your pet from obesity
More than half of pets in the United States are considered overweight or obese by their veterinary care provider. Obesity is much more than a cosmetic issue, because these pets are at increased risk for serious health conditions, such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and arthritis. During a regular wellness screening, we weigh your pet and assess their body condition score (BCS) to determine their weight status. If your pet is overweight, we will devise an appropriate weight loss strategy to help them safely lose the necessary weight.
#6: Regular wellness screenings protect your pet from parasites
Diagnostics such as fecal checks and heartworm and tick-borne illness testing are performed during a regular wellness screening, because parasitic infections can cause serious issues for your pet.
- Heartworms — Infected mosquitoes transmit heartworms when they take a blood meal from your pet. These parasites migrate to your pet’s heart and lungs, and can cause life-threatening damage. Our team runs a simple blood test to determine if your pet is affected.
- Tick-borne disease — This test can also detect tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites — A fecal check can detect parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia, that can leach nutrients and irritate your pet’s GI tract.
#7: Regular wellness screenings can save you money
Preventing illness and diagnosing conditions in the early stages can help avoid an expensive emergency veterinary situation. Practicing regular wellness care is the most cost-effective way to keep your pet healthy.
Regular wellness screenings are important to keep your pet happy and healthy. Contact our Town and Country Animal Hospital team to schedule a wellness screening, so we can ensure your pet is living their healthiest life.
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