Annual Exams and Preventive Medicine
Annual Exams and Preventive Medicine
The importance of the annual health exam for your pet cannot be understated – even if he or she looks healthy. At an annual health visit, the veterinarian will look at your pet from head to toe, and ask a detailed history regarding lifestyle, nutrition, and any concerns that you may have about your pet. The main goals of these visits are to catch health issues early, and to prevent diseases from occurring. The veterinarian will discuss vaccines that your pet may need, parasite control (ex. flea treatment or deworming), nutrition and mobility issues, and will answer any questions that you may have. Often there are free samples of new products and diets given for owners to try with their pets. There is most definitely some sort of treat waiting behind the front desk, and in the exam room ready for your most-deserving pet!
For pets that are considered seniors (ie. over the age of 7 to 9 years old), or animals that suffer from a chronic disease, it may be recommended that they see the veterinarian more frequently than on a yearly basis. This helps us prevent age-related health issues, as well as monitor and stay on top of their ailments as best as possible. At these visits, we may run blood-work or other tests, recommend new diets or supplements, or come up with an exercise routine for your pet.
Many of the contagious diseases that we see in pets today are preventable with good veterinary care, and with the help of vaccines. The veterinarian will ask you questions about your pet’s lifestyle to help decide which vaccines are necessary to keep you pet healthy – each pet is different, and therefore, should have a tailored vaccine protocol. If your pet requires multiple vaccines, it may be safer for these to be spaced out over time.
Many kennels, doggy daycare's and some groomers will require a certain set of vaccines and parasite control be up to date for your pet. It is best to call the facility ahead of time so we can make sure that your pet is ready for his or her visit.
Vaccine titres are blood tests that are available to test the immunity level of your pet to most of the diseases that they are routinely vaccinated for. For this test, we take a sample of your pet’s blood, and send it away to a special laboratory. The results of this test may tell us that your pet’s immunity for certain diseases is strong enough, and that your pet may not need to be vaccinated on the regular yearly or 3-year schedule.
There are some facilities (ex. kennels or doggy daycare centers) that will accept positive vaccine titres as proof for immunity against disease – please call them and ask. When travelling with your pet across the US Border or to most other countries, up-to-date rabies vaccination is required – a positive titre for rabies will not be accepted.
Fleas, and ticks, and worms! Oh my! While we are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place with a lovely, temperate climate, there are many parasites that love to call Vancouver Island home as well. There are many products on the market for helping control these pests, and your veterinarian is the best person to help come up with an individualized plan for your pet.
Products found at the pet store or department store may seem like a more cost-effective plan for treating fleas, ticks or worms in your pet, but most of them do not work – and some of them are really not very safe. For example, if over-the-counter flea products meant for a dog are accidentally applied to a cat, it can cause them to have seizures, or even die. The medications that veterinarians use are rigorously tested, highly regulated, and actually guaranteed to keep your pet safe.
If you are planning on travelling with your pet – please let us know so that we can help tailor your pet’s program to keep him or her as safe as possible during your time away from home. Some areas have really nasty parasites (ex. heart-worm, ticks that carry Lyme disease or other pathogens) – your veterinarian will be able to choose the right product that is safe, and will keep your pet protected.