You want to give your beloved pet the best chance at a long, happy life. That's why regular veterinary checkups and preventive care are essential. But exactly how often should you take your cat or dog to the vet? Our vets in Murfreesboro explain.
Veterinary Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious health conditions or detecting them in their earliest stages can help your pet remain healthier longer.
Booking a regular vet checkup for your cat or dog offers your vet the chance to monitor your pet's overall health, check for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated) and provide recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged companion.
Our vets understand that you may be concerned about the cost of bringing your cat or dog to the vet's office for a routine checkup even when they seem healthy. However, taking a preventive, proactive approach to your pet's veterinary care may help save the cost of expensive treatments in the future.
Routine Exams — Pet Checkups
For your furry friend, a routine exam is a physical checkup. Similar to people, your pet's lifestyle, age and overall health will determine how often they should have a physical. Annual routine exams are usually recommended for healthy adult dogs. That said, puppies and kittens, animals with underlying health conditions and senior pets benefit from more frequent examinations.
Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old
Is your pet less than one year old? If so, he or she should see the vet once every month. During your kitten or puppy's first year, they'll need several rounds of vaccinations to help protect them against common infectious diseases.
Recommended vaccines for puppies include corona, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, rabies, parvo and parainfluenza. Kittens should receive their FVRCP vaccine which helps protect them against three highly contagious, life-threatening feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV) and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
These vaccines will be given to your young furry friend over the course of about 16 weeks and will go a long way towards keeping your puppy or kitten in good health.
The exact timing of your pet's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your pet's general health. Our vets recommend having your puppy or kitten spayed or neutered when they are between 6 to 12 months of age to prevent numerous diseases and unwanted litters, in addition to undesirable behaviors.
Adult Pets Up to 7 Years of Age
If you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat between 1 - 7 years old, yearly routine exams are recommended. These examinations are annual physical checkups that are done while your pet seems completely healthy.
During your adult pet's routine exam your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination of your pet to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain or parasites.
Your veterinarian will also administer any required vaccines, speak to you about your dog or cat's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.
If your vet detects any signs of developing health issues they will discuss their findings with you and recommend next steps.
Senior Dogs & Cats
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically starting around 5 years of age.
Cats are considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
Since many animal diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets we recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior pet will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above, but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet's overall health.
Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your dog or cat comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior pet, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.