Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Has your dog been to the vet this year?Why Dogs Need Annual Vet Visits

As an adult, when your dog has had his core vaccinations and doesn’t have any chronic health issues, it’s easy to skip their annual wellness visit.

At a time when our own medical bills are ridiculously high, and there are so many other costs and priorities to take care of, it can seem wasteful to go to the vet when your dog is feeling well.

The truth is, these annual visits can save you a lot of headaches, time, and money, especially if you plan ahead to ensure all of your dog’s needs are met during that time.

Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworms

Your dog should be protected against heartworm disease year-round. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, so anytime your dog is bitten, they are at risk of becoming infected.

Heartworm preventatives work by killing any larvae that may have entered your dog’s system in the past 30 days. When the interval between doses is too long, the larvae can become too large for preventive treatment.

Your veterinarian will need an annual blood test to renew your dog’s prescription, because if your dog is heartworm positive, taking preventive measures can actually kill them. If a dog already has a large population of adult heartworms that are killed off by preventive measures, they can actually cause a blockage – which can lead to sudden death. oops.

I look for natural solutions whenever possible, but for heartworms, I haven’t found any proven holistic solutions. If you’re overall conscious and prefer to avoid heartworm prevention products, you’ll at least want to have your dog tested frequently by your veterinarian. A holistic veterinarian can point you in the direction of natural prevention options, but either way, you can’t avoid at least an annual vet visit to keep those deadly parasites at bay.

Fleas and ticks can spread disease, but you can buy products for those without a prescription. You may choose to get these through your veterinarian, though.

Why we do blood, urine and stool testing

My dogs will be nine years old in the spring, so they are officially senior citizens. I worry about the usual health issues like cancer, diabetes, and arthritis, but so far our only ongoing concern is cows getting pancreatitis attacks if they eat too much fat. She’s been doing really well thanks to her low-fat diet.

We perform a complete blood count on each dog to check for changes in protein, white and red blood cells, electrolytes, hormones and enzymes, which include markers that may indicate diabetes, liver or kidney dysfunction, immune system changes, infections, thyroid problems, dehydration or anemia.

A urine test can reveal diabetes, kidney or liver problems, or a urinary tract infection.

A stool test ruled out parasites, and even if you don’t see worms in her poop, your dog may have them.

When you schedule your dog’s health checkup, be sure to mention that you want a full checkup too, and that you’ll be bringing stool and urine samples. One vet I went to had all of these tests included in the “advanced health file” and the one we go to now doesn’t include them, so I have to let them know that we want the tests done and not just one body.

What about vaccines?

Your dog’s rabies vaccine is the only vaccine required by law. As a puppy, you’ll need core vaccinations to protect against serious diseases like distemper and parvovirus.

Rabies is 100% fatal to both animals and humans, and it can happen easily, even if your dog doesn’t spend much time around wild animals. Bats leave tiny, almost invisible bites that can be hidden by your dog’s fur, and it’s common for them to enter houses and apartments.

You can choose whether you want your dog vaccinated against kennel cough, giardia, Lyme disease, and others, and if your dog goes to groomers, boarding houses, dog parks, or perhaps drinks from puddles or lakes, These vaccines would be useful – all of which could be how they contract bacteria, viruses or parasites.

ask the veterinarian questions

I really look forward to the vet visit. We don’t always see the same veterinarian every time, but always someone who shares my passion for dogs. Seeing her sitting on the floor really taking her time with my nervous puppy warmed my heart during our last vet visit.

Asking any additional questions ensures you really understand what’s going on, and any ongoing issues are documented, so if you do need to visit “in sick”, they’ll have context to use.

  • lumps and lumps – They are usually just fat cysts, but your veterinarian will know if the lump should be tested for cancer, or if it could be infected.
  • changes in eating habits – This could point to issues like diabetes or hypothyroidism, but it could also point to issues that might not show up on the test, such as anxiety
  • anxiety – This may not seem like a medical problem, but it is.Your veterinarian can prescribe daily or on-demand medication, or can advise you if you are exploring other solutions such as training or holistic therapies
  • teeth and bad breath – Cow had one dental cleaning under anesthesia and Matilda about three. Your veterinarian can let you know if your dog should get one, and can give you advice if you’re having trouble with dental hygiene.
  • changes in urination and poo – Especially accidents in the house, which may actually be a medical problem rather than a training problem
  • odor – Body odor could indicate a skin infection, while farting could be a stomach bug
  • coughing, snoring and snoring – could point to a respiratory problem, in the case of Matilda our vet suggested that her occasional cough could indicate a mild collapse of the trachea which is common in older small dogs and does not currently require treatment.
  • what to feed – A veterinarian can suggest veterinary brand food options such as Hill’s, or your dog may require a prescription diet for certain health issues. These foods are backed by medical science from years of feeding trials, which is why veterinarians recommend them. Of course, if you are interested in feeding fresh cooked or raw food, you can feed other foods and work with a holistic/natural veterinary nutritionist. What you feed is up to you — your dog’s needs, your budget — but asking your veterinarian might be a good place to start.
  • weight – Your veterinarian can let you know if your dog is the right weight and how to help them lose weight if needed. Simply feeding your dog less food can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  • cut nails – I use Jumey at home Every two weeks, but your veterinarian can trim the nails if needed.

I often forget to ask questions and concerns during appointments. When you get home, you can always call or email the office staff and they can refer your concerns to the veterinarian. This time I remembered to write down my questions before the visit.

With all of these health issues ruled out, and hearing my dogs are in great shape for their age – that’s reassuring. Pooh! Every year when we go to the vet, we feel better.

Lindsay Peffney
Lindsay Pevny is dedicated to helping pet parents make the best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips as well as insightful pet product reviews.

she also uses her pet copywriting business Make sure to find the best pet products and services online with engaging copywriting and fun, informative blog posts.she also offers Product Description Writing Services for e-commerce companies.

As Matilda and Cow’s dog mom, she spends most of her days on long walks and practicing new tricks, and most evenings trying to make the most of the very modest part of her bed.

You’ll also find her baking and homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

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