From the first new pet exam, through to discussions about quality of life and when to say good-bye to your pet, regular examinations are an important way to maintain your pet’s health and comfort. Not only will each of your pets be given a thorough examination, we’ll also talk to you about your pets. Even with a thorough exam, it is often you, the pet owner, who is responsible for giving the most important information about your pet and clues about changes in their health. Variations in water consumption, appetite, elimination habits, activity levels and social behaviour can give us important clues about your pet’s health that won’t necessarily be revealed by an examination alone.
Our pets age more rapidly than we do. While the “7 dog years to one human year” rule doesn’t apply for the life of our pets, it’s close enough to support our recommendation for a checkup at least once a year. We’ll be seeing your puppy or kitten much more frequently than that, what with vaccines and boosters, and spaying and neutering, but through adulthood, once a year should suffice for general Wellness Exams for an otherwise healthy pet. Once your pet enters its senior years – generally 8 year of age for dogs, and ten years for cats – we may recommend visits twice a year or more.
In an urban setting like Yaletown, the resident cat population is primarily an indoor one. There appears to be a belief that if one’s cat doesn’t go outside, and is thus not exposed to other animals or the dangers that lurk outdoors, then they don’t require the same frequency of veterinary visits as animals who venture outside. It’s true their level of risk is much lower, but it doesn’t stop the effects of aging. As your cat matures, it becomes more susceptible to problems like diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and thyroid disease. Early detection of these and other diseases, enhanced by a regular checkup, can allow us to start treatment earlier, and often slow the progress of the disease before the effects become more severe.
Depending on our findings or concerns we may recommend a change of diet, nutritional supplements, or medications to address your pet’s health needs. Sometimes we’ll need to gather more information to get the full picture. This could involve running blood, urine or fecal tests (link to diagnostics), taking aradiograph (link to radiology), or even a referral to a specialist, if we feel the problem may be beyond our realm of expertise.