1. WEIGH IN
Obesity is one of the most common problems that I see in my patients. It is preventable & causes many health issues for your pet, including worsening symptoms of arthritis, increased risk of spinal, hip & knee problems (e.g. prolapsed disc, cruciate ligament rupture), increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, increased strain on your pet’s heart & more!
2. Discuss any concerns
it is important to talk to your vet about anything that you have noticed changing with your pet as it may indicate an underlying problem or may be something that is easily managed. Tell us if you think your pet is slowing down & we can look for signs of arthritis & discuss various treatment options. Enlighten us about elimination, divulge drinking habits & blab about bowel movements — it helps us to identify possible internal organ problems in your pet.
3. Complete physical examination
Complete physical examination — we listen to your pet’s heart, take their temperature, assess their abdomen, examine their ears, skin & coat, feel their lymph nodes, look for lumps and bumps, mull over their mouths, appraise their anal glands, palpate their prostates (entire males only), gauge their gonads and judge their joints. By doing this, we are able to let you know about problems you may not have noticed, provide you with the tools to monitor them at home, and give you recommendations as to the best next step.
4. Monitor dental health
Bad teeth means more than just bad breath! Bad breath is just the tip of the iceberg. An iceberg is a good analogy, as the tartar on the tooth is what you see above the waterline (gums); below that can be infection running down to the tooth root which can cause an abscess. The infection can spread to the bone & via the blood stream to other organs. So, ideally if we recommend a prophylactic dental it’s to prevent a tooth titanic moment.
5. Ensure you are using the appropriate preventive medicines
These medicines are all about keeping your pet healthy & safe. Not to be dramatic, but heartworm is most likely going to kill your dog if s/he becomes infected! Intestinal worms can be shared with the humans in your family & some can leave lasting scars on children.