Annual Physical Exam
I’ve been reading in magazines that adult dogs now only need vaccinations every three years. If that is the case, why do I need to bring my dog to the veterinarian every year?
The most important part of your pet’s annual visit is the complete physical examination, which allows your veterinarian to identify signs of diseases early when they are easier to treat. At the same time, your veterinarian will determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your pet based on your pet’s age, health status, lifestyle, exposure to other animals etc. It is important to continue to protect our pets from such serious diseases as parvo virus or distemper while at the same time preventing health problems that can possibly result from overvaccinating. By law, rabies vaccinations must be given to your pet to protect not only your pet, but also the public, from this fatal disease.
Ideally, a pet should have a thorough annual physical examination. During this wellness visit, your veterinarian will discuss appropriate parasite control and prevention. An annual stool check for intestinal parasites and a blood test to check for heartworm disease are recommended. This is also a good time to get your pet’s heartworm and flea and tick prevention since he/she has just been weighed and the appropriate dosages/products can be given.
During the examination, the veterinarian may also recommend blood work and urinalysis to check for changes in function of kidneys, liver, and other internal body organs that may not always be apparent on a physical exam. These tests are especially important for our senior pets.
The annual/biannual wellness visits also provides an opportunity to discuss with the veterinarian such issues as dental care, grooming care, nutrition, exercise, weight control issues, behavioral problems, and whatever else you may be concerned about. It is important for pets to visit the veterinarian regularly to have longer, healthier, happier lives!