In this post, I’ll explain what’s really vitally important to your pet’s health – a yearly physical exam. I also urge you to let us advise you on “shots”. Immunology is a complex topic, but what is certain is that you do your pet a disservice if you subject them to multiple annual vaccines.
Thorough physical exams, performed once or twice a year matter. Here’s why….
1. A thorough physical exam helps us catch problems early, when treatment is less expensive, and we often have a much better prognosis.
For pets over 7 years old, regular exams are more important than ever – six months in a senior pet’s life is equivalent to 3 – 4 years in our life. During that mid-year visit we examine for lumps, bumps, and changes to weight, joints, teeth, and eyes.
2. Parasite screening is an important part of annual exams. Did you know that some parasites dogs and cats carry are “zoonotic” – meaning they can be transmitted to you and your children? We recommend year round preventatives for intestinal parasites, heartworms, fleas and ticks – not only to keep your pets healthy, but also to keep your family safe. Checking for fleas, heartworms and intestinal parasites is part of your pet’s annual examination.
3. Dogs and cats need dentists too. Dental disease can wreak havoc on the health of people and pets. Veterinarians play the role of dentist in your pet’s life. Mouth infections, cracked or fractured teeth are one of the most common findings made during the wellness exam. Dental disease is painful and can damage your pet’s heart, kidneys and liver. Many patients act years younger once their mouth is healthy.
4. Staying trim is as important for pets as it is for us. We’re not just your pet’s doctor and dentist, we’re the dietitian too! Well over 50% of the dogs we examine are obese, and 90% of the cats. Excess weight creates the same problems in pets as it does in people. Diabetes, common in obese pets, is expensive to manage, and it shortens life span- sometimes dramatically.
At Noah’s Ark we track your pet’s weight through the years, and even create weight loss plans if your pooch or kitty packs on a few extra pounds. Whether you want to purchase food, or make your own raw or cooked diet – we’re there to help… we’re nutrition experts.
5. Please don’t subject your pet to annual vaccinations! During your pet’s annual exam, we review your pet’s age, lifestyle, history and only then do we make recommendations for which vaccines, if any, your pet needs. We also offer titer testing to determine what level of immunity your pet currently has from past vaccinations.
While we don’t have room for a long discussion about immunology here, what you need to know is this: Your pet does not need every vaccine, every year. At Noah’s Ark, your annual visit is where we make sure your pet is protected from deadly diseases, but not over-vaccinated – which can create it’s own set of problems.