Why Does My Pet Need a Wellness Exam (‘Check Up’)?
Wellness exams (or ‘check-ups’) are the best way to make sure that your pet is healthy, which will not only give you a much happier pet, but will also be more likely to save you money since preventive care is often much less expensive than disease treatment or surgery. Unlike people, animals can’t tell us when something isn’t right and, in fact, they often hide signs of disease, so it is up to us to find disease. The best way to do this is to have your pet examined by a veterinarian at regular intervals, just like humans should have regular visits with their doctors. Also just like humans, regular exams should be scheduled with a variety of doctors, like the dermatologist, internist, cardiologist, allergist, dentist and many other doctors. So think of all those appointments for a human boiled into one appointment at the veterinary clinic where your veterinarian is the dermatologist, internist, cardiologist, allergist, dentist and many other doctors! The veterinarians at Riverview Animal Clinic perform comprehensive exams that encompass all of your pet’s needs.
Wellness exams (‘check ups’) are usually scheduled annually but may be scheduled more often depending on the health and age of your pet. These exams are very important and can be combined with the annual vaccination appointment.
For more information on annual wellness exams, please call us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) or visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/wellness-exams.aspx.
Puppy and Kitten Exams
Just like exams for human children, especially babies, puppy and kitten exams are extremely important. Neonatal and pediatric patients of any species are very fragile and more likely than adults to suffer devastating consequences from disease, so identifying problems early is critical. The puppy and kitten exam is also the time to look for congenital problems like cleft palate, heart defects, hernias and any other problems that your puppy or kitten might have been born with. Also, during the exam we will establish a wellness plan, including a vaccination and deworming schedule for your puppy or kitten. We will also discuss nutrition, spaying/neutering, microchipping and appropriate behavior training. Behavior problems are the number one reason that dogs and cats are relinquished to animal shelters. By starting appropriate behavior training early, you can keep your pet ‘minding its manners’ so that it will be a well-behaved member of the family. Puppy and kittens may need up to 3-4 exams in the first 16 weeks of age and these exams can be scheduled for the same time as the puppy/kitten vaccinations and vaccination boosters.
For more information on puppy and kitten exams, please call us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022).
Geriatric or ‘Senior’ Exams
Dogs and cats age much more quickly than humans age so ‘senior care’ starts at an earlier age for our pets than for humans (see the ‘how old is my pet’ chart on our geriatric care page). In both pets and people, increasing age means increasing chance of disease so wellness exams become more critical, and the need for exams becomes more frequent. Senior exams include not only all of the factors included in the standard wellness exams, but also an assessment of nutrition (since dietary needs change with age) and of potential painful problems (since older patients are more likely to experience chronic pain). Senior exams may also include blood work, urinalysis, electrocardiogram (ECG), radiographs (‘x-rays’), ultrasound and other tests (as needed).
For more information on geriatric or ‘senior’ exams, please call us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022).