Because your dog or cat can’t communicate to you when he isn’t feeling well, and because animals are sometimes able to mask symptoms of illness until a disease is advanced, an annual exam conducted by your veterinarian is an important part of maintaining the health and happiness of your pet.
Below are four important reasons why you should have your pet examined annually.
Catching a Disease in the Early Stages
Through physical examination and tests, such as blood tests, your veterinarian will be able to target a disease in its early stages, when it is easier to treat. Many illnesses in both canines and felines will not result in obvious symptoms until they are advanced. Catching a disease earlier rather than later, though, can ensure your pet will get appropriate treatments to get him well again or at least keep the disease from progressing and making your pet sicker. Plus, an annual exam will give your vet data throughout your pet’s life that will help him in gauging what is normal for your pet and what is out of the ordinary. All of this information, along with a thorough physical exam of the body, will help your vet properly diagnose your pet and, ultimately, save you time and money if it results in recognizing a disease early on.
Checking on the Heart
Your vet will listen to your pet’s heart, checking the rate while ensuring there aren’t any abnormalities, such as murmurs. Because heart conditions are serious, this is one of the most important reasons to have your pet examined annually, as you won’t be able to check on the health of his heart at home on your own.
Maintaining Dental Health
During an annual exam, your vet will also check your pet’s mouth to determine if any dental cleanings or procedures need to be done before serious oral issues occur. Because many dogs and cats end up with a lot of tartar on the teeth, as well as gum disease, an annual exam will help you stay on track of your pet’s oral health and fix dental problems before they escalate.
Looking for Parasites
Internal parasites, some of which can be transmitted to humans, also pose a risk to your pet’s health. Because they can be acquired without your knowledge, and because they do not always produce symptoms, such as worms passed in the stool, the only way to really know if your pet has a parasitic infection is to have his stool examined by a veterinarian at least annually. In the event any parasites are found in the stool sample, you can get the appropriate treatment to get rid of them right away.
Even though your dog or cat may look fine, and even if his behavior has not changed, there could be underlying health issues that have not yet manifested as outward signs. An annual veterinary exam, however, can alert you to health problems early on, before a disease becomes advanced and difficult, or even impossible, to treat.
Thanks to Lisa Selvaggio and AllPetNews for this great article!