Your pet will not always be able to tell you when they don’t feel well. Often they may show some behaviours that alert you to a problem (e.g. cats peeing in the bath when they have cystitis), but many problems come on gradually and your pet will just adapt their behaviour (e.g. if they have arthritis, walking less, not jumping so much, sleeping more).
Your pet’s annual vaccination is an important part of keeping them well, but it is much more than just a vaccination. It gives an opportunity for a full head to toe health check and time to discuss any issues such as training, feeding or any other questions you may have.
What is covered in my pet’s annual health check?
Heart and Lungs – we listen to your pet’s heart and lungs using a stethoscope. This allows us to detect any heart murmurs (abnormal noises that can be an early warning of a heart problem), abnormal heart rhythms, and any abnormal sounds in the lungs. We also check your pet’s respiratory rate and effort (telling us how well they are getting oxygen) and the strength of their pulses (telling us how effectively the heart is pumping blood around the body).
Joints and Muscles – we feel all their muscles and joints. This allows us to detect any areas of pain or reduced movement. As animals get older, general wear and tear can lead to joint pain. Although a lot of these changes are inevitable, there are lots of things we can do to minimise the impact that this has on your pet. Early detection of problems and the use of exercises, supplements and pain relief mean that often your pet will be able to carry on exercising as normal.
Eyes – we use special equipment to look at all the structures in the eye. From the cornea (clear membrane at the front of the eye) to the retina (structure right at the back that processes the images). This allows us to not only detect problems within the eye itself, but also can be an early warning of other conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, which causes changes on the retina). Early detection of problems allow more options for treatment can can save your pet’s vision.
Skin – the skin is the largest organ in the body and disorders of the skin can cause severe irritation. During your pet’s health check we inspect their coat and skin for any signs of trauma, infection, inflammation and can discuss any supplements of grooming tips that may help.
Mouth and Teeth – poking around in your pet’s mouth is not something many owners (especially cat owners) are keen to do, so often dental disease can progress significantly before it is detected. People often believe that if an animal has a sore tooth, they will stop eating, however, we are often surprised how painful a mouth can become before it starts to have an impact on an animal’s ability to eat. Gum disease not only can lead to a loss of teeth, but infection in the mouth rapidly enters the bloodstream and can spread through the body leading to problems in distant organs like the heart and kidneys. Having a good oral health care plan, can not only ensure that your pet does not develop toothache but can protect it from developing conditions like endocarditis and chronic kidney disease.
Weight – monitoring your pet’s weight is a crucial part of any health assessment. Changes in weight can alert us to a lot of medical conditions and tell us a lot about your pet’s wellbeing. Weight gains can indicate conditions like an underactive thyroid, or a reduction in exercise due to pain or arthritis. Weight loss can be an early warning of overactive thyroid (cats) and diabetes.
Flea and Worm Treatments – these days the number of options for treating fleas/ticks/worms can be a bit overwhelming and knowing when and how often to do so even more confusing. There is no “one size fits all”. Parasite treatment should to tailored to you and your pet’s individual requirements. The annual health check is the perfect time to discuss your needs and find out what treatments are most appropriate.
Microchip – microchips are very reliable but occasionally they have been known to stop working. Every year at your annual health check, we will scan your pet’s microchip and ensure it is still working. We can also double check that the details recorded on the chip number are still correct, please ask at the time of scanning if you would like us to do this.
Once their health check is completed we will administer the appropriate vaccination and give you a sheet detailing the results of everything that has been checked along with any recommendations for you to follow up.