As humans, most of us make sure we get to the doctor on an annual basis. It’s important for us to get our weight checked, blood drawn, and discuss health problems before an issue comes up. What about our pets? How long has it been since your pet has been to the doctor?
Checkups are important for your pet, no matter what age. Young kittens and puppies need to be checked to make sure they are growing properly. Growing dogs and cats need certain shots and sometimes adjustments in their food. An annual checkup will give them their best start in life.
Adult dogs and cats need to be checked for weight gain, dental issues, ear issues, etc. An overweight animal will need a change in food. If your pet has dental issues, a cleaning may need to be scheduled.
Sometimes ear mites, infections or yeast infections occur in the ears and need to be treated. Allergies can also be a problem that needs to be treated by shots. Just as important as the inside is the outside, so schedule your pet for a bath or nail trim if needed.
It is especially important for senior animals to get an annual checkup. As your pet gets older, there are many things that can flare up out of nowhere. Keep an eye out for changes in hunger or thirst and urination or fecal elimination.
Certain diseases like diabetes and chronic kidney disease can become apparent without warning. If your senior pet is acting strangely, keep watch, take notes, and bring them to your appointment. After a certain age, a full blood panel is ideal to help rule out disease or identify it and get it under control.
What to expect at a yearly checkup
- Visual assessment of the animal.
- Evaluation of the skin and coat.
- Evaluation of your pets weight and discussion about how to treat it if need be.
- The vet will listen to the heart and lungs.
- The doctor will exam eyes, nose, ears, and oral cavities.
- The vet will feel over the abdomen to make sure there is no pain or issues.
- The doctor will take your pets temperature.
- At the end, he or she will discuss issues and treatment options.
Cutting the costs of a yearly checkup
Vet care is expensive and is often a barrier between animals getting the care they need and going without. However, there are some options that can help.
Pet Insurance-Although it doesn’t cover everything, most insurance covers an annual exam.
Low Cost Clinics– Farm supply stores like Big R and Tractor Supply have options for pet owners to bring their pets in to get low cost health care. Contact your local store for details.
Animal Shelters– Some shelters have low cost spay and neuter options, call your local shelter to see if they can give you some resources for finding lower cost health care for your pet.
Chain Store Vets– Pet stores like Petsmart have Banner animal hospitals in their locations. Another option is EasyVet. Both of these operations have packages of health care options for your pet. Look on their web sites to find out more.
Care Credit-Most vets offer this as a way to pay your vet bill so that you are able to make payments in installments.
Benefits of a Yearly Checkup
- Discussing your concerns with your vet.
- Scheduling teeth cleaning and other follow up procedures.
- Purchasing more flea treatment if needed.
- Purchasing or re-stocking prescription foods.
- Going home with peace of mind.
Weather it is a first time exam or a yearly checkup, the benefits outweigh the negatives in keeping your pet healthy. Getting you and your pet to the doctor at the same time will ensure a happier, healthier life for both of you.
After all, it is your responsibility to provide the best care possible weather your animal is healthy or sick. Just like it is their responsibility to provide you with a lifetime of love and companionship.