Why are Wellness Exams Important?

Wellness exams every 6 months to one year can help your pet stay healthy. At these visits, thorough physical exams are performed and any concerns can be addressed. During the physical exam, your pet’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth and teeth, lymph nodes, skin and coat, heart, lungs, abdomen, joints, and temperature are checked. A thorough exam allows your pet’s veterinarian to catch any abnormalities that may have developed and inform you of the findings. Based upon these findings, diagnostic testing may be recommended.

Bloodwork can provide a great deal of vital information about the health of your pet. There are two large blood panels that are commonly performed during a wellness visit if deemed appropriate. They are a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and a serum chemistry.

A CBC provides information on your pet’s cell counts, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This test detects signs of infection, anemia, low platelets, dehydration, stress, and blood parasites, just to name a few. A serum chemistry panel provides a look at internal organ function, including kidneys and liver. This test can also provide clues as to whether or not certain metabolic or endocrine diseases may be present.

Heartworm antigen tests are also a common component of wellness visits. Heartworm disease is a preventable disease and identified with a few drops of blood. This test is done yearly but may be recommended more frequently if your veterinarian deems it appropriate. Year-round heartworm prevention is important in both cats and dogs.

Urinalysis may also be performed at a wellness visit, especially for geriatric patients. Urinary crystals, urinary tract infections, and signs of endocrine or kidney dysfunction can be identified.

A wellness exam provides a wealth of information and establishes a relationship between you, your pet, and the veterinarian. Because pets cannot speak and tell us something is wrong, wellness and preventative care is essential to catch any abnormalities early on and help pets live long, healthy lives.