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Routine Vet Exams - Why Are Regular Veterinary Checkups Important?

Regular veterinary exams help keep your pet healthy by allowing your vet to check your cat or dog, look for early signs of illness, and monitor its overall physical health. Our vets in Mooresville provide more information on when to bring your furry friend in for a checkup and what to expect.

Why Routine Exams Are Important

Routine veterinary exams take place about once or twice a year, even when your pet looks healthy. These exams are an excellent way to help your pet achieve lifelong optimal health by focusing on early disease detection and preventive care.

By bringing your cat or dog in for regular checkups with your vet, you are giving your veterinarian a chance to detect difficult-to-catch diseases in their early stages, such as cancers and parasites, and the opportunity to monitor your companion's overall health.

Scheduling Your Pet's Routine Exam

The frequency with which you bring your pet in for a routine exam depends on factors such as their age, lifestyle, previous medical history, and the breed's risk of developing diseases. If your pet is currently healthy but has had illnesses in the past or is at a higher risk of developing diseases, you should bring them in twice a year to ensure they remain as healthy as possible.

An annual exam is recommended for adult pets in good health with no history of illness. Very young or very old animals are often more susceptible to disease and illness, so our vets suggest bringing your kitten or puppy in for a checkup monthly for the first four to six months of their lives.

If your pet is in its senior years or you have a giant breed of dog that is at a higher risk of developing diseases, it's recommended that you bring it in for a checkup twice a year. Regular checkups for your cat or dog allow your vet to detect early signs of diseases and start treatment while illnesses are still in their early and most treatable stages before they become severe.

What to Expect At Your Pet's Routine Exam

When you take your pet to the veterinarian for a routine check-up, the veterinarian will review your pet's medical history and discuss any concerns you have about your pet's health and behavior. They will also ask about your pet's lifestyle, diet, thirst, exercise habits, and urination patterns.

Veterinarians often request a fresh stool sample from your pet for a fecal exam. These samples are important for detecting intestinal parasites that can significantly affect your pet's health.

Following this, the vet will conduct a physical examination of your pet, which typically includes:

  • Weighing your cat or dog
  • Listening to your pet's lungs and heart
  • Looking at the animal's gait and stance for irregularities
  • Checking your pet's nails and feet for damage or signs of more serious health conditions
  • Palpate your companion's abdomen to see if the internal organs appear to be normal and to look for signs of pain or discomfort
  • Feeling along your pet's body for signs of illness like swelling, signs of pain, and evidence of lameness, including a limited range of motion
  • Looking closely at your cat or dog's skin for conditions including parasites, lumps, or dryness
  • Inspecting the overall condition of your furry friend's coat, looking for bald patching or dandruff
  • Examining their eyes for eyelid issues, discharge, redness, cloudiness or excessive tearing
  • Checking your pet's ears for signs of polyps, wax build-up, ear mites, or bacterial infection
  • Looking at your dog or cat's teeth for any indication of damage, tooth decay, or periodontal disease

If no problems are found throughout the process, all these exams and checks can be done seamlessly and quickly. Your veterinarian will most likely talk with you as they perform this thorough examination.

Your vet will also give your cat or dog annual vaccines, if appropriate, based on your pet's vaccine schedule. Puppy and kitten, vaccinations and booster shots for adult pets are very important in giving them their best chance at a long and healthy life. Staying up to date with your animal companion's vaccines throughout their life will help keep them safe from a variety of contagious and possibly serious conditions and diseases.

Additional Routine Tests Recommended for Pets

In addition to the general tests mentioned above, your vet might suggest additional tests to gain some extra insight into your pet's health. When determining if your cat or dog might need more tests, it's important to note that in many cases, early diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and diseases cost less and are less invasive than treating a condition in its advanced stages. 

The tests listed below look for a variety of conditions and can help find the earliest signs of diseases before your pet displays symptoms:

  • Urinalysis
  • Thyroid hormone testing
  • Complete blood count (CDC)

If you own a giant breed of dog or a senior pet, more in-depth testing (such as X-rays and other imaging) might also be recommended.

At The End of Your Pet's Checkup

As soon as your pet's checkup and examination are finished and your furry friend has received their annual vaccines and booster shots, your veterinarian will take all the time necessary to discuss their findings with you.

If your vet finds any signs of injury or illness, they will discuss with you how to get a more detailed diagnosis or the available treatment options.

If they give your cat or dog a clean bill of health, your veterinarian might provide you with tips or suggestions about your pet's oral health, diet, parasite prevention, or exercise routines.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time for your pet's annual routine exam? Contact our Mooresville vets now to schedule an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Lake Norman at Mooresville Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinarians are passionate about improving the health of cats, dogs and exotic pets. Book your pet's first appointment today.

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