Annual checkups: why your pet needs them

Annual checkups are strongly recommended by our clinics. This is because pets age faster than people and may develop illnesses quickly. Annual wellness checks can help detect some illnesses earlier and keep your pet healthier for longer. It is critical that you discuss all your concerns with the vet when you bring your pet in.

Here is a list of questions you can ask your vet to help get the most out of your annual visit.

  1. Is my pet at a healthy weight?

Most of us look at our pets with rose-tinted glasses and think that their extra fat rolls are cute or show that they are healthy. But in reality 50% of South African pets are overweight or obese. This puts them at risk of many diseases. Ask your vet to give your pet a weight assessment and be prepared to work together to get your pet to its goal weight.

  1. Is the food I am feeding correct?

We are lucky to have a range of foods available for each breed and age category, not to mention for many health problems. A lot can change in a year – your pet may need to go onto senior food or another diet if he or she has developed an ailment. Some pets develop kidney problems or arthritis as they age. Be sure to discuss your pet’s nutritional requirements with your vet.

  1. Is my pet in pain?

We often think our pets slow down as a result of age. But the reality is that it is often pain that causes them to move less. If your pet is showing a reluctance to exercise or his having difficulty getting up after sleeping for several hours, or struggles to climb stairs be sure to mention this to your vet. Your pet may be in pain. Your vet can help.

  1. Does my pet need vaccinations?

Many deadly diseases can be prevented by vaccination and it is easy to forget boosters. This question could save your pet’s life.

  1. Does my pet need a dental cleaning?

Astonishingly up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3  suffer from some form of dental disease! Any one who has had a sore tooth can testify as to who painful it is and this can be easily prevented by regular dental check ups and cleanings. And it’s not only pain you are preventing. Gum disease can lead to heart disease too! Doing a dental cleaning before there is a major problem can prevent further illness and save on money in the long run.

  1. Does my pet need a blood test?

Many diseases can be detected early by doing a blood test. Chat to your vet as to what is appropriate for your pet’s age.

  1. What flea/tick/worm meds do you recommend?

Tick, flea and worm treatment is essential for the health of your pet and your family. Time flies and we forget to do these regularly, especially in winter when our dogs and cats aren’t out and about as much. Parasite treatment must be carried out regularly;  be sure to check with your vet. There are also many different treatments available. Your vet will help you choose the one that best suits your pet, and your lifestyle. Once you have bought one of these treatments at our clinic you will get a reminder via SMS for the next dose to help keep your pet parasite free.

  1. What are these lumps and bumps?

If you’ve felt a lump or bump on your pet don’t forget to point it out to the vet. Lumps and bumps could indicate cancer and the earlier cancer is detected the better the outcome. Usually the vet will do a quick examination of some cells from the lump under the microscope to decide on what action needs to be taken.

  1. Should I get my pet sterilised?

This is a no-brainer but when time flies when you’re having fun with a puppy or kitten and sometimes we forget to make that appointment. Book that appointment before your pet has her first heat. The longer you wait the higher her risk of mammary cancer. Unsterilised, older females are at risk for mammary cancer as well as deadly uterine infections. Older, unsterilised males are at risk for prostate and testicular issues.

  1. Are there any other tests we can do to make my pet healthier?

Your vet may recommend a heart scan for dogs and cats that are predisposed to heart disease or x-rays of hips and elbows in dogs that are prone to arthritis. By doing these tests earlier we can detect disease before it becomes a major problem – saving you countless vet’s bills in the future and keeping your pet healthier and pain free.