Everyone knows that taking care of a family pet is a big responsibility, but a big responsibility isn’t the same as a big job. So long as you are looking after the basic needs of your dog or cat and giving them plenty of time and attention, your work is mostly done. All that’s left is to stay on top of their health with annual wellness exams. These check-ups are just as important for our pets as they are for the rest of the family, especially since our cats and dogs can’t tell us when they’re feeling unwell (even if they can sometimes alert us through their behavior).
Whether we’re talking about our children, ourselves, or our pets, preventive care is the cornerstone of leading long and healthy lives, and that’s what annual wellness exams provide. The needs of a puppy or kitten are obviously different from those of a middle-aged dog or cat, and your veterinarian relies on these annual check-ups to monitor certain age-related medical and health concerns. As a result, potential diseases and other problems can be caught in their earliest stages and treated before they progress. Both dogs and cats can suffer from arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, dental disease, blindness, and cancer, but annual check-ups conducted over the course of a pet’s life can detect and help prevent these problems before they take root.
Since you can’t monitor every aspect of your pet’s health by yourself, establishing an annual exam routine with a trusted Cherry Hill veterinarian also gives you peace of mind. During these routine check-ups, your veterinarian will listen to your pet’s heartbeat for potential murmurs, as well as the lungs for any hint of congestion or other respiratory issues. The doctor will typically check your pet’s joints for possible stiffness, the condition of the coat (as this can reveal potential illnesses or parasites), and of course examine your pet’s eyes, ears, mouth, and teeth for any trace of disease or abnormality. On top of all these external examinations, your vet will also check your pet’s kidneys and other internal organs, and do any necessary blood work. All this provides a baseline understanding of your pet’s health, which you and your vet can refer to year after year.
Annual wellness exams are also a great way to ensure your pet is always up to date on his or her vaccinations. Dogs can be vaccinated against Lyme disease and canine influenza, cats can be vaccinated to prevent Bordetella, and both dogs and cats need vaccinations for distemper and rabies. Vaccinations save countless lives every year, and play a key role in preventive health.
If this all sounds like a lot, that’s because it is…and that’s what makes annual wellness exams so important for your pet’s lifelong health. The good news is that all you have to do is bring your dog or cat in for an annual nose-to-tail exam and let the vet take care of the rest. Cherry Hill Animal Hospital is your Cherry Hill veterinarian in Camden County, just next door to Mt. Laurel. Our staff members are Fear Free-certified and trained in low-stress handling techniques. Phone (856) 325-2100 for veterinary care in Cherry Hill.