Routine checkups: Not just for humans anymore

Routine checkups: Not just for humans anymore
By: Kayla Belec Last Updated: February 2, 2019

One of the only downsides to owning a pet is that you can’t really hold conversations with them. Yes, over time, you develop little ways of communicating with each other, like when your dog signals it’s time to go outside. But pets rarely will tell you when something is wrong.

That’s why it’s so important to schedule regular checkups for pets. Just like your own routine doctors’ appointments, routine vet appointments are crucial to maintaining your pet’s wellbeing, preventing minor issues from escalating and ensuring your pet is living a healthy and pain-free life. Dr. Karen M. Askounis of Advanced Animal Medical asserts that regular physicals must be upheld, regardless is your pet is showing signs of distress.

“We need to remember that, since the expected lifespan for dogs and cats is much shorter than for people, health conditions can change more quickly,” she explained. “For example, while a pet may be only 6 months old, they are already at the puberty stage. Many health conditions can remain hidden until they have progressed beyond the treatment stage.”

Problems are often as difficult to catch as a pet’s distress.

“Conditions like heart murmurs and kidney disease do not show obvious outward signs until the disease is advanced. Early detection allows us to start managing the disease process so the pet has many more comfortable years than they would without early intervention,” Askounis said.

“There can also be conditions that pet owners do not realize are a health threat, like dental tartar and gingivitis,” she added. “Many owners do not recognize the signs of conditions like arthritis and don't realize their pet is in pain.”

Treating problems at the onset is easier for both your pet and you. For instance, having a lump checked at the vet can determine if there is a concern for cancer. The lump can be removed early, allowing for a complete cure, while the pet undergoes a less invasive surgery because the lump is still small, and the cost for the pet owner is more affordable.

Beyond health threats, routine appointments ensure you pet is living its best, longest life.

“Regular physical exam visits allow the veterinarian to make sure the pet owner is aware of appropriate diet, preventive care such as vaccines and heartworm prevention, and health conditions that may impact their pet's health,” Askounis said. “We can also help with behavior problems. Our goal is to keep pets healthy and happy long into old age.”

The language barrier between pets and their humans will always exist, and pets are completely dependent on those humans. It’s up to owners to bridge the gap and make sure their pet is a happy companion.

“Pets often do not cry or whine until pain is very severe,” Askounis said. “We have many ways to help pets with pain, and it is a shame that pets may be continuing in pain when we are here to help.”

Bridge the gap and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Explore Advanced Animal Medical for more information on how they can help.