Pet health care advice for 2012: start the year off right with a preventative medical exam
With the start of a new year, many people make New Year’s resolutions – oftentimes to improve their own health and that of their families, and to instate better habits for the year ahead. Pets can also benefit from this way of thinking; and for those people who count a furry or feathered friend amongst their family members, preventative veterinary health care is a simple and effective way to include pets in the wellness resolution trend.
Just like humans, all animals need regular physical exams – annually for young pets and twice a year for those over 6 years of age. Preventative care exams with a qualified veterinarian, complete with parasite screenings and laboratory testing, can help catch potential health problems at the outset – giving pets a chance to receive early diagnosis and treatment before lurking risks become a serious concern.
During a preventative care exam, veterinarians perform a thorough physical from nose to tail (or beak to tail feathers), evaluating the eyes and ears and checking the mouth for evidence of dental disease, oral masses, lumps, bumps and other red flags. They will also listen to your pet’s heart and lungs, feel for regions of discomfort and make sure all the internal organs feel normal. In addition, veterinarians will evaluate your pet’s temperature and weight, checking for recent weight gain or loss and ensuring healthy physical conditions overall. Obesity in pets can be a risk factor for other medical problems, while unexplained weight loss may prompt additional testing recommendations to screen for underlying health concerns. If you notice either significant weight loss or gain in your pets, be sure to mention the change during your pet’s annual or bi-annual physical exam.
Expert preventative health care and proactive screening protocols at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital
In addition to physical examinations, veterinarians may also recommend laboratory tests, such as fecal screenings, urine evaluations or blood work, to check for health risks including
- Intestinal parasites
- Heart worms
- Thyroid health
- Blood count abnormalities
- Liver and kidney function
- High or low blood sugar levels
At the La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, we conduct all of these tests and more, tailoring our preventative health exams and recommendations for vaccination protocol to your pet’s environment, age and existing health issues. Additional measures may include vaccines or vaccine titers (blood tests measuring the level of antibodies developed from previous vaccinations to determine if a booster is needed), and together these can help optimize each veterinary visit and ensure your pet’s best possible health from year to year. To learn more about our practice or to schedule an exam for your pet, contact our La Jolla veterinary clinic today: www.lajollavet.com.
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