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Routine Pet Exams: The Importance of Dog & Cat Checkups

Routine Pet Exams: The Importance of Dog & Cat Checkups

When it comes to the routine care of your pets you will need to bring them in for routine preventive care and examinations. These regular visits are key to ensuring their lifelong health. Our Citrus Heights vets discuss the importance of routine dog and cat checkups and what you can expect during their pet exams.

What makes regular dog and cat checkups in Citrus Heights so important?

Your pet will need routine pet wellness exams in Citrus Heights regardless of their age or breed. These vet checkups are used to gain an overall view of the health of your dog or cat.

Your vet will use these pet wellness exams to watch for any signs that your pet may have a condition. This allows them to take action as early as possible.

These conditions benefit from early treatment. During the checkup, your vet has two goals: to prevent health conditions from developing where possible and to spot early symptoms of the disease so that they can be treated before they develop into more serious problems. 

When will my dog or cat be in need of a pet wellness exam?

The frequency at which your dog or cat will be in need of vet checkups really depends on your pet. Depending on the age, health condition and type of pet you have, your companion may require more or fewer visits than other pets.

For pets that are younger, older or have a history of medical concerns, your vet will likely recommend that they visit for vet checkups in Citrus Heights more often, at least twice yearly.

Since your puppy or kitten's immune system is still developing, young pets can be especially susceptible to many illnesses that adult pets can easily overcome. For this reason, your vet might recommend booking a monthly dog or cat checkup for the first few months. 

Typically, an adult dog or cat with no history of illness should see us for a vet checkup on a yearly basis. That said, some pets such as senior dogs and cats, in addition to giant breed dogs, face an increased risk of many conditions and should see a veterinarian more often to monitor for early signs of illness. In these cases, it's a good idea to bring your pet in for twice-yearly cat or dog checkups. 

How can I prepare myself and my pet for the vet checkup?

During your first visit, your vet will need a variety of information about your animal. They will still need an extent of this information even at subsequent visits and so you should always make sure to have it on hand when visiting. You should bring the following information and items to your pet's vet checkup in Citrus Heights:

  • Eating and drinking habits
  • Recent travel history
  • Current medications (names and doses)
  • Past medical records, including vaccine history
  • Tick bites
  • Food (what kind do they eat)
  • Toilet habits

You may also want to bring a favorite blanket or toys for comfort. While dogs should be on a leash, cats should be in a carrier.

What is involved with a dog or cat checkup in Citrus Heights?

When you take your pet to the veterinarian, your animal’s medical history will be reviewed and your vet will ask if you have any concerns. They will also ask about your pet’s diet, exercise routine, thirst level, bowel movements, urination and other aspects of their lifestyle and general behavior.

In some cases, you’ll be asked to collect and bring along a fresh sample of your pet’s feces (bowel movement) so a fecal exam can be completed. These exams help to identify whether any number of problematic intestinal parasites are present. These parasites may otherwise be difficult to detect.

Next, the vet will physically examine your pet. While this will usually cover the following points, the vet may take time to do more depending on your pet’s needs:

  • Measuring your pet’s gait, stance, and weight
  • Using a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s lungs and heart
  • Looking into the eyes for signs of cloudiness, discharge, excessive tearing, cloudiness or redness. Will also look for issues with eyelids
  • Checking for any signs of illness by feeling along your pet’s body (palpating). These symptoms include lameness or limited range of motion, or signs of swelling or pain
  • Feeling the abdomen to check whether internal organs appear normal, and to check for signs of pain or discomfort
  • Checking your pet’s nails and feet for signs of significant health concerns or damage
  • Examining your pet’s ears for signs of wax buildup, polyps, ear mites or bacterial infection
  • Inspecting the condition of the teeth for any indications of decay, damage or periodontal disease
  • Examining your furry companion’s coat to assess overall condition, as well as look for signs of abnormal hair loss or dandruff
  • Inspecting your cat’s or dog’s skin for numerous issues — from bumps or lumps (especially in folds of skin) to dryness and parasites

If no issues are detected along the way, your vet can likely run through this list quickly and seamlessly — they may even chat with you as they do so. If an issue is identified, your vet will explain what they have noticed and recommend the next steps or potential treatments.

during your cat or dog's checkup in Citrus Heights, your vet will also administer the appropriate vaccinations and preventive care for your pet's needs.

Will my dog or cat need any other diagnostic tests during their vet checkup?

As well as having a pet wellness exam in Citrus Heights, your vet may also recommend additional wellness testing. Remember that in many cases, early detection and treatment of disease is less expensive and less invasive than treating the condition once it has become more advanced.

Tests for blood count, thyroid hormone testing and urinalysis may be done, in addition to diagnostic testing such as X-rays and imaging.

What happens after a vet checkup in Citrus Heights?

Once your pet has been examined, tested and given their annual vaccines, your vet will dedicate time to explaining their findings to you.

If the veterinarian has found any signs of injury or illness, they will recommend more detailed diagnostics or potential treatment options to help.

If your pet is healthy overall, this discussion may focus on improvements to exercise and diet routines, caring for your pet’s oral health and checking that essentials such as appropriate parasite prevention are monitored.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Is it time for your pet's routine examination? Contact us to book a vet checkup in Citrus Heights.

New Patients Always Welcome

Family Friends Veterinary Hospital is happy to accept new patients! Our vets are passionate about improving the health of Citrus Heights companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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