What is Wellness Care?
Wellness Care is a proactive approach to your pet’s healthcare that is focused on preventative care and optimum health for your pet. Additionally, Wellness Care is the most cost-effective approach in caring for your pet’s health.
Wellness exams and testing can tell us when something is wrong before it causes your pet pain and before he or she begins to show the typical signs of illness such as weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite etc. Pets have a natural instinct to hide illnesses from predators, so they are “hard-wired” to mask when they are not feeling well. Too often, by the time pets start to show signs of illness, they have been hiding their condition for some time. This is one reason why many pet owners are shocked to learn that their pet is seriously ill and feel as though this has happened seemingly within just a few days.
Wellness Care is our way to monitor your pet’s health and be proactive about his or her care. Our goal is to prevent your pet from developing painful and often untreatable medical conditions through early diagnosis. We have adopted this concept from current approaches in human medicine where prevention and early diagnosis have shown to be life-saving methods of health care.
Wellness Care – It’s How Our Pets Can “Speak” to Us
In pets, routine examinations and laboratory testing are critical, since our pets can’t tell us when they’re beginning to not feel well. As veterinarians, we must ‘search for’ early signs of illness and pain by our thorough exams along with the help of some standard laboratory testing.
What is Included in a Wellness Care Examination?
Our Wellness Care Examination includes the following:
- A complete, comprehensive, nose to tail physical examination.
- Discussion with you, the owner, about your pet’s actions at home, e.g. thirst, urination, energy etc.
- CBC – (Complete Blood Count) looks for infections, anemia, etc.
- Blood chemistry panel – evaluates the liver, kidneys, checks for early diabetes etc.
- Thyroid testing – evaluates activity of the thyroid gland, the “master gland of the body”
- Urinalysis – diagnoses low grade infections, early kidney dysfunction, etc.
- Fecal analysis – evaluates intestinal parasites and bacteria some of which are contagious to us
- Ultrasound of the spleen – the spleen is a common source of silent and often dangerous benign and malignant tumors. Our practices’ ability to recheck and watch your pet’s spleen is only possible because of our in-house ultrasound equipment. When necessary, removal of the spleen is very safe and a life-saving procedure that is routinely performed here.
How Often Should My Pet Be Examined?
The frequency regarding how often you should schedule a Wellness Exam for your pet is based both on your veterinarian’s assessment of your pet’s health, and his or her age. Pets age much more quickly than we do, something we refer to as “age compression.” Each year in your pet’s life is about equal to about 7 human years and in Senior pets (those 7 years and older) the aging is more rapid and is comparable to 10 human years per pet year.Based on this understanding, middle aged pets up to 7 years of age should have yearly exams and testing, with fecal exams done twice a year. Senior pets (7 years and up), however, need examinations and testing twice a year since they age much more quickly and this is a point in a pet’s life when many serious illnesses develop.
As in human medicine, early detection, prevention and intervention of illnesses is a far better approach from both a health and a financial perspective to managing your pet’s health than treating critical and/or chronic illnesses and diseases.