A wellness exam is a good investment in your pet’s long-term health — so you and your furry best friend can potentially enjoy more years together.
Just like us humans, it’s good to schedule routine checkups for your dog or cat. In fact, in some ways, it’s even more important for them — since they can’t talk and tell us how they’re feeling, sometimes it’s hard to know if something’s wrong.
Unfortunately, dogs and cats often don’t show symptoms of a medical problem until it’s advanced, and more difficult or expensive to treat…
But that’s where wellness exams come in: our goal at Satilla Animal Hospital is to spot developing diseases early on, and treat them before they become a big problem.
As they say, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What does the veterinarian do during a wellness exam?
There are three main parts to a checkup for your dog or cat, including:
Taking a history
We’ll start by asking you about your pet’s lifestyle, such as their diet, whether they go outdoors, and whether they’re having any symptoms of illness at home, such as vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, or sneezing.
We’ll start with a standard list of questions — that ensures we don’t forget to ask anything important. But, be sure to ask us your questions, too!
Whether you’re concerned about something unusual your pet is doing at home, or just want some general advice on things like nutrition or bathing, we’ll be sure the vet knows about it and addresses your concern.
Our goal is for you to leave your visit feeling confident and reassured, with a plan for taking care of your furry pal’s health.
A full physical exam
As we mentioned, pets can’t talk and tell us what’s wrong. So, a thorough physical exam helps your veterinarian get a much better picture of your dog or cat’s health.
Your veterinarian is educated and trained to check ALL body systems. This includes your dog or cat’s:
- Heart and lungs
- Gum color, temperature, and pulse
- Abdomen and digestive system
- Lymph nodes
- Urinary tract and genitals
- Teeth and mouth
- Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
- Skin and fur
- Muscles and joint
Think of it as a full health evaluation, checking everything from nose to tail!
Recommendations and treatment
After the physical exam, your veterinarian will discuss the findings with you, and let you know if anything was abnormal.
If all is well, then we’ll give you a plan for routine care. This may include:
- Diagnostic testing, such as bloodwork and parasite checks, for example
- Recommendations for nutrition, weight loss, behavior and training, dental cleanings, or any other topic you’d like to know more about when it comes to your pet’s health
- Discussing risks of parasites and diseases in Waycross, and the best ways to prevent them, so your pet can be protected
- Advice for when to schedule your pet’s next visit
Note that usually, any recommended vaccines and tests can be performed the same day.
And, if there are any abnormal findings on the exam — such as lumps, swellings, pain, or another symptom of illness — we’ll explain them, answer all of your questions, and discuss the next step.
How often does my pet need a wellness exam?
This varies depending on your pet’s age, breed, and medical history. But there are a few general rules of thumb…
Most pets fall into the timeline of needing a wellness exam every 6 to 12 months.
Often these visits coincide with vaccines and refills for parasite prevention, so you can take care of everything all in one visit. But even if your pet doesn’t need a vaccine at the time, it’s still a good idea to come in for their wellness exam.
That’s because pets age more quickly than humans do. So, regular exams and preventive care help to keep them in their best shape, so they can live a longer, happier life.
Pets that are at a higher risk of diseases — whether infections, genetic, or age-related conditions — will be recommended to come in more often. This includes growing puppies and kittens, certain breeds, and senior pets.
I’m on a budget. Will there be any additional expenses or products for me to buy?
Your veterinarian will give you an honest evaluation of your pet’s health, as well as a recommendation for what to do next, and the pros and cons of all options.
There’s no one-size-fits-all plan for every pet — but rest assured, you’ll always get honest advice that allows you to make an informed decision as to what’s best for you and your family (including both human and furry family members!)
Basically, we’re here to be your partner in keeping your pet happy and healthy! And a wellness exam is an important part of that goal.
Give us a call today at 912-283-7760, and we’ll get you scheduled for a visit with one of our veterinarians. We’re looking forward to meeting you and your four-legged pal soon!