After going to work, taking your children to school and their various extracurricular activities, and figuring out what to make for dinner, who has time to take their pet to the veterinarian for routine wellness care? Plus, your pet seems perfectly healthy, so what is the harm in skipping their appointment? Potentially, your four-legged friend’s health and wellbeing. Here are Dove Mountain Veterinary team’s seven reasons why regular wellness screening tests are vital to your pet’s health care plan and why you should never skip their annual or bi-annual appointment.
#1: Regular wellness screenings provide a normal baseline for your pet
You know your pet is special, but did you know that their diagnostic results are unique? Laboratories establish “normal” ranges for many veterinary tests, but not every pet reads the reference manual, and some pets’ “normal” test result falls at the high or low end of the reference range. Regular wellness screenings help our veterinary team establish a normal baseline for your four-legged friend when they are healthy, so we can better understand their results and track slight changes from their normal that may indicate serious health issues.
#2: Regular wellness screenings help detect pet disease early
Pets often don’t exhibit disease signs until their condition has advanced. Regular wellness screening tests help our team detect health problems in the early stages when they are easier to manage and your pet has a better prognosis and quality of life. Conditions that wellness screenings help us detect include:
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD) — CKD is common in pets, especially senior pets, but they often don’t exhibit signs until about 70% of their kidney function is compromised. Screening tests, including symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) testing, allow us to detect CKD much sooner, and we can instigate treatment to help preserve your four-legged friend’s quantity and quality of life.
- Heart disease — A regular wellness screening involves a thorough physical examination that includes auscultating your pet’s heart to detect abnormalities, such as heart murmurs or arrhythmias, which may indicate heart disease. In these cases, we typically recommend further diagnostics, such as an electrocardiogram and an echocardiogram, to further assess your pet’s heart function.
- Diabetes — If not managed appropriately, diabetes can lead to significant health issues for your four-legged friend, but wellness screening tests, such as a biochemistry profile and urinalysis, help our team detect this condition.
- Thyroid disease — Hypothyroidism is common in senior dogs, and hyperthyroidism commonly affects senior cats. Our team typically recommends a thyroid panel as part of senior pet wellness screenings to help detect these conditions.
#3: Regular wellness screenings protect your pet from parasites and the diseases they carry
Parasites can cause numerous health issues for pets, including:
- Heartworms — Heartworms can significantly damage your pet’s heart and lungs, and the American Heartworm Society recommends yearly testing, including for dogs on a year-round heartworm prevention program.
- Tick-borne diseases — Ticks transmit debilitating diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis. Yearly testing is helpful to determine if your pet has been exposed.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites — GI parasites, such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, Giardia, and coccidia, can leach nutrients from you pet and cause a GI upset. Routine fecal testing helps our team detect these parasites, so we can prescribe an appropriate treatment regimen.
#4: Regular wellness screening protects your pet from dental disease
The majority of pets have some degree of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. The condition causes much more than foul, doggy breath—periodontal bacteria invade under the gumline and infect oral tissues, loosen teeth, and cause significant pain. In addition, they can invade your pet’s blood stream, leading to kidney, liver, and heart damage. Regular wellness screenings help our team detect dental disease, so we can take proactive steps to promote your pet’s oral health.
#5: Regular wellness screenings help prevent expensive veterinary bills
When health conditions aren’t detected early and managed properly, they can lead to serious, emergency veterinary situations. For example, untreated CKD allows waste materials to build up in the pet’s blood, leading to a uremic crisis. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to severe hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and diabetic neuropathy. Veterinary emergency bills can escalate quickly, and investing in regular wellness screenings to prevent emergencies is much more cost effective.
#6: Regular wellness screenings help prevent difficult pet care decisions
Pet owners faced with potentially astronomical emergency veterinary bills and a pet’s poor prognosis sometimes have to make difficult decisions, but regular wellness screenings keep your pet as healthy as possible for as long as possible, helping to prevent such heartbreaking situations.
#7: Regular wellness screenings provide peace of mind
Your pet is part of your family, and knowing they are as happy and healthy as possible is priceless. Regular wellness screenings provide proof that you are doing all you can to ensure your four-legged friend has a good quality of life and that they remain by your side for as long as possible.
Keep your pet as healthy as possible for as long as possible by contacting our Dove Mountain Veterinary team and scheduling your four-legged friend’s wellness screening.