More than likely you visit the doctor at least once a year. Are you doing the same for your pet? Because cats and dogs age quicker than us, bringing them in to the Snake River Vet Hospital once a year is like you going once in five to seven years.
Dr. Tillquist recommends annual wellness exams at a minimum, and as your pet gets older he suggest that the frequency of visits should be determined on an individual basis, taking into account the pet's age, species breed and environment.
So, why take your pet in for a checkup; "don't fix it if it ain't broke," right? Wrong. It's all about prevention! Why do you take your car in every 3,000 miles for an oil change, get a physical exam each year at your own doctor's office. You do it to check on your overall health, catch issues before they become problems and prevent future catastrophes. Your pet shouldn't be any different.
The following story is an example of just how important regular wellness checks can be:
Jonathan, an eight year old male, neutered Collie mix came to his vet for a routine senior checkup and blood work. During the exam, the owner happened to mention that Jonathan had not been eating his breakfast very well for the past couple of days but would eat dinner very well. When he was examined, Jonathan expressed pain in he abdomen and had mile tartar on his teeth; otherwise everything was normal. The blood work showed a few things that made needed further tests.
Those tests showed that Jonathan had Biliary Musoecele, which is very much like a gallbladder stone in humans. This can cause the gallbladder to fill up with bile, causing severe pain and possible liver damage. This type of problem requires surgery within a few days, otherwise, there can be irreversible liver damage. Jonathan went home that day with medications and came back the following day to have surgery.
Jonathan was able to return home after three days in critical care. The time from the initial appointment to the surgery time was 48 hours. Jonathan had no other symptoms of disease other than not eating his meals. If his owner had not come in for Jonathan's senior exam, too much time would have passed and the surgery would have been impossible. If the gallbladder had ruptured or the liver had undergone further damage for much longer, Jonathan may not have recovered so well after surgery.
When you go in with your pet for a wellness visit, Dr. Tillquist will request a complete history of your pet's health. Don't forget to mention any unusual behavior that you have noticed in your pet including:
Coughing; Diarrhea; Eating more or less than usual; Excessive drinking of water, panting, scratching or urination; Vomiting; Weight Gain or weight loss
Dr. Tillquist will also want to know about your pet's daily behavior, including his diet, how much water he drinks and his exercise routine.
Depending on where your live, your pet's lifestyle and age and other factors, Dr. Tillquist may also ask about your pet's exposure to fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites.
During a wellness exam, your pet will get a complete "tune-up" .....
Vital statistics, Ears, Eyes, Mouth, Heart and lungs, Reproductive and other organs, Skin, Joints and muscles, Vaccinations.