10 Ways to Help Your Pet Live Longer and Save You a Bunch of Money on Vet Bills at the Same Time!

#2 – “The Value of the Yearly Physical Exam

Last time I wrote about having a financial plan for the routine and unexpected veterinary expenses that will accompany pet ownership. So, how should you use those health care dollars in helping your pet to “live long and prosper”? One of the very best investments in the life-long health of your pet is the yearly physical examination. “But”, you may say, “My pet is eating well, is very active, and seems just fine! Why do I need to bother with the exam when I already know they’re healthy?”

Here are 4 good reasons to have us do a “nose to tail” physical examination on your pet every year:

1) Pets age a lot faster than we do – If your pet hasn’t been examined in the past year, it is as if 5-7 years (cats and dogs) or even 10 years (rabbits) have gone by since any health evaluation has been done.

2) Pets hide their illnesses – Pets can’t talk to, text or e-mail us when they are experiencing the more subtle symptoms of illness but instead tend to “suffer in silence”. Thus, by the time you notice any trouble with your pet, it likely has been going on for some time. The physical examination can help unmask these hidden, often painful problems.

3) Dealing with troubles early is often kinder, more successful, and cheaper than waiting for significant symptoms to show themselves – For example, by the time a cat shows observable signs of heart disease, it is often too late to help them. At the time of a cat’s physical exam, we can detect any heart murmurs or changes in heart rate, pulse quality or blood pressure and can prescribe appropriate medications or refer you to a cardiologist before the disease progresses too far.

4) Questions, questions! – We will ask you a lot of questions during the physical examination so we can give you the best recommendations for your pet regarding vaccinations, internal and external parasite control, nutrition, dental care, weight control, behavioral issues and other health concerns for the coming year. We are also here to answer any questions you may have regarding the wellbeing of your pet and the yearly exam is the perfect time to get the answers you need!

To get the most value out of your pet’s physical examination time:

– Arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment to take care of check in procedures – Let us know of any address, phone number, e-mail or name changes so we can update our computer records
– Bring a small, fresh stool sample in a zip-lock for parasite evaluation
– Bring a list of your pet’s current food and supplements, flea/tick and internal parasite products, and any medications they are on
– Bring a list of current health or behavior concerns and any other questions you have

-Dr. Chris Wilson