3 Reasons Why Your Pet’s Annual Checkups are Important
Preventive care is important for humans and our companion animals alike. But do your pets really need to come in every year for checkups, even if they seem perfectly fine? The answer is, they really do!
1. Your pet can’t talk
This may seem obvious, but pet guardians are often caught off guard when their furry friends are diagnosed with problems they had no idea were causing their pets distress. Our companions sometimes don’t show pain much, and the signs of illness can be very subtle. Weight loss in a very fluffy kitty could be easily missed; a stoic lab with a sprained shoulder may hardly limp at all; it may be hard to judge if a pet is drinking more water if it shares a dish with others. Life is busy, and when you see someone every day, it can be easy to miss gradual changes.
There are also some diseases that can show very few symptoms until they are quite advanced, such as periodontal disease, heartworm disease, or mast cell tumors, so it’s best to catch these things early when possible! A friend of PAWM had a kitty who recently went to his annual vet exam, where they discovered he had lost four pounds in six months! He is very fluffy, so while his mom knew he was feeling thin, she had no idea how much weight had been lost. It turns out he had diabetes – in her busy multi-pet household, his other symptoms had not been apparent. Thankfully his disease was caught before it caused more serious health issues, and now that he is receiving the medication he needs, he can live many more happy years with her!
2. Your pet ages more quickly
Perhaps you have heard the old adage that a pet ages seven years for every year of human life? While this is an over-simplification, it is true that our companions age much more quickly than we do. It may feel excessive to see a doctor every year, but what about once every five to seven years? A lot can change in seven years of a human life, and the same is true for our pets. As your pets age, they may need to see their veterinarian even more than once per year – just as we humans need to see the doctor more frequently when we get older, our senior pets need more frequent checkups too.
3. Trends and history are important
Remember the example above, about the fluffy cat whose weight loss was not obvious? It is much easier to notice a trend of weight loss if your pet has been seeing their veterinarian regularly. Regular blood work can help keep track of trends as well – information that could seem benign may warrant intervention once put into context of your pet’s history. An annual exam is also a great time to catch your veterinarian up on what else is going on in your pet’s life – if you live in Colorado but are traveling to Texas, your vet may recommend different parasite prevention; if you’re thinking about hiking a fourteener with your dog, your vet may have advice on physical training to help your dog get ready for the task; if your kitty is learning to walk on a harness to go on outside adventures, your vet may have recommendations about additional vaccines. This annual check up helps you keep your veterinarian in the loop about all the important things going on in your family’s life!
We know that your pets are dearly loved members of your family. And that is why it is important to make sure they don’t miss their annual checkups!