Lately, I have been seeing some difficult cases in the office. Cases with patients that were very ill from treatable diseases that had just gotten past the point of no return. These cases are heartbreaking for the families and their pets and there is not an easy way to answer “yes” when someone asks, “could we have stopped this from happening?”. This week, in memory of those pets and their families, I want to talk about the importance of prevention and annual examinations.
Yearly examinations for your pet may be the most crucial thing you can do for your pet’s wellbeing. Your veterinarian can give your pet a thorough examination and focus on everything from teeth and eyes to overall body shape and joint health. Your veterinarian can look for subtle changes in your pet’s coat, the rhythm, and sound of their heart as well as any signs that your pet has a disease.
In addition to the physical examination, it is important to review how your pet acts day to day. Changes in your pet’s urination, fecal consistency, appetite and drinking habits can seem small at home but can be big clues for your veterinarian to look for a serious disease. Make sure to bring any changes to your veterinarian’s attention!
Above and beyond the examination, your veterinarian may recommend screening blood work and any other diagnostics to look for diseases you cannot see with the naked eye. Some statistics show that 1 out of 5 pets will have a blood work abnormality, which although difficult to detect without blood tests can be indications of disease. Early detection of disease will allow you and your veterinarian help your pet live a longer and healthier life.