We recommend yearly exams because:
- 93% of pets examined annually need some level of care or management to restore health.
- One year of our lives is equivalent to five to eight years of a dog or cat’s life.
- 60-80% of cats and dogs over three years of age have dental disease that needs care.
- Dental disease can decrease life expectancy by 20%
Annual wellness examinations are critical in patient care management. Many diseases have no observable symptoms, making it difficult to detect clinical signs. Weight is an excellent indicator of a patient’s health status. Slow or minor weight changes are difficult to detect without a scale. Weight fluctuations are often the only indication that something is wrong early in many disease processes. One way to detect weight fluctuation is to bring your pet in for an annual exam.
Frequency of Routine Exams
In younger animals, yearly exams are required not only to check the items listed above, but also to begin discussions with pet owners about ongoing care and early detection of potential breed or conformational problems.
Once a year may not be enough to detect age-related problems in older animals (cats over 10 years old), such as kidney degeneration, liver disease, cancer, and thyroid conditions. Exams every six months will better serve an elderly pet. In addition to the exam, blood work and urinalysis for older animals aid in the detection of hidden problems.
Beyond the Physical
A thorough physical examination allows for a detailed history and review of the medical record. Medical issues and problems that have previously been identified will frequently necessitate follow-up and monitoring.
The annual visit also provides an opportunity for client education in areas such as current nutritional information, vaccine developments, flea control discussions, and other topics. One of the most important services provided to pet owners is client education. Because we don’t always have the time to do this when dealing with an obvious medical problem, the well patient visit is an excellent opportunity for education.
Prevention and early health improvement are far less expensive and ultimately more effective than waiting until an animal is obviously ill. One of the most important things pet owners can do for their pets is to have them examined annually.