At River Landings Animal clinic, we advise our clients to schedule at least one wellness exam a year, otherwise known as yearly exams (if you’ve been a long time client, you are likely familiar with our ‘reminders’). A wellness exam is essentially a physical check-up for your pet that is aimed at early detection of disease and ensuring a healthy life for your pet.
Recent studies done by both the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) discovered some startling statistics that indicate visits to veterinarians are declining while instances of preventable diseases in pets are increasing. This is very alarming, as the numbers of pets in the United States have increased by more than 36 percent, according to the Bayer Veterinary Usage Study.
How often does my pet need an exam?
Depending on the breed and size of the pet, the average pet will age about five to seven years for every human year. That means that the health of a 7-year-old terrier is equivalent to that of a 35-year-old human. Because of your pet’s short life span (averaging about 14 years), it is extremely important that your pet receives preventive care at least once per year and twice per year for pets over nine years of age. Skipping your pet’s physical exam for three or four years is equivalent to you not seeing your doctor for 15 to 25 years.
By the time your pet reaches about 7 years of age, yearly visits become even more important. The cost of a routine wellness exam is going to be much lower than treatment of an advanced disease. Catching a problem early can prevent your pet from unnecessary pain, suffering and possibly, even loss of life.
Why are wellness exams important for my pet?
Pets are genetically wired to hide any illness. Through routine wellness exams, preventable diseases like obesity, ear infections, and dental disease can be addressed, and early screenings for arthritis, diabetes and kidney disease can be performed. The net result of routine wellness exams is early detection and prevention of disease, which means a healthier and longer life for your pet.
Did you know
Dental disease is probably the likeliest abnormality detected at a physical exam. Roughly 60-80% of cats and dogs over 3 years of age have dental disease that needs care, and dental disease, if left untreated, can decrease life expectancy by 20%.
Obesity is another life-lessening condition, and is another one of the more common findings. Obesity in our pets leads to many of the same health problems we face: diabetes, heart problems, and a greater risk for certain cancers, to name a few.
An annual exam is the time where your veterinarian may educate you on the newest vaccine recommendations, administer any that are needed and discuss flea and parasite control, behavioral issues, or any other concerns you may have. Well-check visits are one of the most important things we can do for our pets.