Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What a Pet Checkup Is All About

If you’ve never taken Spot for his annual veterinary checkup, you’re probably wondering what to expect. And even if you do take him in once a year, do you really remember what goes on?

Knowing what your vet and their assistants will do for your dog—or cat, or rabbit, or whatever animal you love—keeps you calm in the waiting room, among other things. You need to keep up the annual pet checkups, and not just for Spot’s sake.

Why go every year?
For some of us, the idea of seeing a doctor every year is second nature, which transfers to our pets; you don’t question it, you just go. But for others, the hassle of making appointments is too easy to procrastinate on so we push them back indefinitely—for ourselves and our pets.

But if you’re going to neglect your own health, don’t do that to your pet. Why should you take Spot in every year?
·        Animals age faster than humans—checkups keep them around as long as possible
·        Keeps animals healthy—some maladies aren’t symptomatic, so you’d never know without a checkup
·        Prevents serious diseases—shots expire after about a year for dogs and cats
·        Reduces the impact of serious diseases—if a serious disease is detected at a checkup, medication can be administered
·        Keeps humans safe—some diseases can be transferred to humans, so preventing is key
·        Updates shots—shots prevent serious diseases
·        Ensures dental health—healthy teeth mean a longer life
Check out this annual vet visit checklist for dogs. Even if you don’t have a dog, the experience is similar across the board—checking for diseases, getting shot updates, making sure the owner is taking proper care. As you can see, an annual checkup is a lot more than an inconvenience to you!

In the Exam Room
You’ve been convinced that a checkup for your pet is good, so you make an appointment. But what will happen while you’re there? It’s good to practice a little waiting room etiquette, for starters. Make sure you have a leash for mobile pets (think: dogs and cats) and treats or toys for frisky pets to distract them. Keep a tight hold on the leash to prevent your animal interacting with other waiting pets.

Once you get called back, you’ll be ushered into a room with a stainless steel tables. Once you’re in the back, a veterinary assistant (the pet version of a nurse) will take vitals like temperature and weight, as well as ask you questions about your concerns. Have a list with your questions handy—you only get a shot at this once a year! The vet will come in later and check major things like ears, skin, and teeth, followed by shots. This is a great time to ask the vet your questions.
Let’s Play 20 Questions
Since you only do this once a year, you need to make the most of your visit by getting all your questions answered. Make a list: has your pet acted strange at all since your last visit? Tell the vet, even if the behavior has ceased. Is your your pet too heavy? Are you giving them the right food? While you may not ask 20 questions, you can at least start with the ten in this PetMD post—including if your pet needs a dental cleaning and if they’re up to date on shots. You can even ask the vet if your pet needs a rectal exam to screen for cancer. Vets like the ones at Nippers Corner Pet Medical Center will encourage you to ask as many questions as you can. Again, you might as get your moneys worth!

How was your last pet checkup?
You may be an old pro at veterinary well visits, but if you’re not, knowing their value and what to expect are key for keeping your pet around as long as possible. Next time you get a reminder postcard in the mail, don’t toss it out—make the appointment right away.

How was your pet checkup last year? Did you learn anything new about your pet or the checkup process? We want to know about your experience; we all learn from each other. Just leave us a comment!

This article was provided by guest blogger: Sally Baggett. Sally holds a master's degree in literature and has been a copy editor and blog writer since 2009. Not only does she also teach writing at the college level, she is a busy mom to two precious little girls.

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