We usually bring our pets to the vet when we suspect something’s wrong, but did you know that something as simple as a once a year wellness exam can literally save your pet’s life? AT ATX Animal Clinic, we recommend an annual wellness exam to help in detecting possible health problems of your pets, and catching them in their earliest stages. As a pet owner, the signs of impending health issues are something you may not see on your own.
Whereas humans are vocal about their pain, dogs and cats will often attempt to hide it until it gets so bad, that the illness has already progressed to dangerous points. Yearly wellness exams with your Austin veterinarian are the first step in preventative care, to discover if a serious illness is starting to develop and ultimately helping to prolong their lives.
What Happens During a Wellness Exam?
Prior to your pet’s first wellness exam, we may require a few things, such as a stool or urine sample. We’ll also want to have an idea of their eating habits and any behaviors that might be connected with illnesses. We’ll want to understand other basics, such as your pet’s diet, the amount of exercise they get and if they have normal bowel and urinary functions.
For your dog’s eyes, our veterinary team will look for any type of redness, discharge, or cloudiness. Ears will be checked for discharge, thickening or hair loss. And the teeth will get a look over for periodontal disease or mouth ulcers.
Puppies Need More Frequent Exams than Adult Dogs or Cats
If you’re a dog owner, you may not be aware that dogs are particularly susceptible to specific diseases when they’re puppies. Puppies should see a vet approximately every month to receive required rabies and distemper-parvo vaccinations, as well as a check up for any possible diseases.
As dogs get older, they should be tested for heartworm, and get boosters for rabies and distemper-parvo. Once a dog reaches 10 years of age, they should have a wellness exam every 6 months to check for a variety of ailments, such as gum disease, vision problems and blindness, arthritis, cancer, dementia and kidney issues.
We’ll inspect your cat’s ears for mites, their eyes for any potential retinal issues and their mouth for tartar and gum disease. Your cats may have hidden bumps or lesions under their fur, so we’ll look for any anomalies that might affect their skin and coat. Additional vaccinations might be necessary, to curb rabies, upper respiratory issues, distemper and feline leukemia, especially if your cat goes outside.
For both cats and dogs, our veterinarians may also run tests, such as complete blood count (CBC), a urinalysis, a thyroid hormone test, and a biochemistry profile.
The results of the wellness exam will allow us to gauge what preventive steps or medications need to be taken, should your cat or dog have a potential health issue. This can involve a change of diet, medicine to help stop fleas, ticks and other nasty creatures, as well as heartworm prevention. It also allows us to have a collaborative approach in helping your pets have a long and healthy life.
You can learn more about wellness exams here.
Depending on your pets individual needs, ATX Animal Clinic also provides the following tests:
Deworming and Fecal Check
We recommend regular fecal checks and deworming in order to prevent parasitic disease, and the transmission of intestinal parasites to your pet and your family. Both cats and dogs are susceptible to parasites or worms as they’re also known. Roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, coccidia, guard and whipworms are the most common types of parasites, and if not checked, they can actually spread to humans. We’ll examine fecal samples for any signs of parasitic infestation, evaluate your pet for repetitive licking or biting in one area and assess your pet’s hair/fur and check for matting.
Regular Blood Testing
ATX Animal Clinic will check your pet’s red and white blood counts, serum chemistry, and electrolytes. These tests can be crucial in helping prevent, diagnose and treat any illnesses that could be life threatening. Known as a blood chemistry panel, this specific test measures elements such as creatinine, albumin, cholesterol, potassium, blood glucose, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and many more.
Flea and Tick Borne Disease
Fleas and ticks are virtually everywhere, and they carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet. We can test to ensure that your pets aren’t affected by by Rocky Mountain spotted fever, canine ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease, among others carried by fleas and ticks.
Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease that can affect the heart, lungs and blood vessels of both dogs and cats. Mosquitos are usually the culprits in transferring heart worms; if they should bite an infected animal, they transfer blood meal while biting another animal which causes the disease to spread. Heartworms are more common in dogs as they’re considered a more natural host, which gives adult worms a greater opportunity to spread if not treated. Cats are susceptible to the disease and if affected, the worms spread with less frequency as they never fully mature to adulthood. The good news is that prevention is simple and effective, so we recommend that your pets be tested annually.
Senior Veterinary Wellness
Once your pets start to get older, there’s a greater chance for them to develop kidney, liver, dental, thyroid, and arthritic problems. ATX Animal Clinic offers a comprehensive geriatric wellness package for both cats and dogs, which includes the following tests:
• Thyroid and Cholesterol serum test
• Serum Chemistry for Liver, Kidney, and Glucose function
• cComplete blood cell evaluation
• Whole body X-rays
• Full mouth dental examination
• One on one dialogue reviewing all tests and addressing clinical approaches for fixable problems.
ATX Animal Clinic will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding these tests, and any other tests that we offer.