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Los Gatos Animal Hospital | Los Gatos

Routine Dog & Cat Checkups and Why They're Important

Routine Dog & Cat Checkups and Why They're Important

Your veterinarian can monitor your dog or cat's health, check for early signs of disease, and provide preventive treatments to help protect your pet from potentially life-threatening conditions with annual routine exams or vet checkups. Our Stockton veterinarians discuss the advantages of regular pet checkups.

My pet is healthy. Why do they need to have a checkup?

Preventive care is all about keeping your dog or cat healthy and providing the care they require to give them the best chance of living a long and happy life. Preventive care for pets begins with annual or twice-yearly wellness exams, depending on your dog's or cat's needs.

These routine examinations are veterinary examinations for your beloved pet. Even if your dog or cat appears to be in perfect health, bringing them to the veterinarian allows your team of veterinary professionals to monitor their health, check for early signs of disease, and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your dog or cat looking and feeling their best.

Spotting health issues such as parasites, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues early, before obvious symptoms appear, means that treatment can begin early when it is most effective.

How often should my pet have a checkup?

Our veterinarians recommend annual cat or dog exams for most pets at American Veterinary Hospital in Stockton. Each pet, however, is unique and has unique needs, particularly as they grow older. As a result, the frequency of your pet's checkups will be determined by their age and medical history.

Puppies and kittens are vulnerable to illnesses that adult pets can easily overcome. Senior or geriatric pets are in the same boat. To give your puppy or kitten the best start in life, you should bring them in for a checkup much more frequently (every month for puppies and kittens under a year old). Twice a year, or more if necessary, is recommended for geriatric pets.

What's involved in a vet checkup for dogs and cats?

When you take your four-legged friend for their annual checkup, your veterinarian will review their medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.

In some cases, we may have requested a sample of your pet's stool to perform a fecal exam. We'll take that sample and look for signs of common intestinal parasites, which would otherwise be difficult to detect.

After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:

  • Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
  • Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
  • Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
  • Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
  • Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
  • Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
  • Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
  • Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
  • Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
  • Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain

In some cases, we may have requested a sample of your pet's stool to perform a fecal exam. We'll take that sample and look for signs of common intestinal parasites, which would otherwise be difficult to detect.

Will my pet get their shots during their checkup?

Vaccines are meant to protect your dog or cat from diseases that are common, contagious, and potentially fatal. Vaccines for your dog or cat will be recommended based on your location and your pet's lifestyle.

Dog and cat core vaccines are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets who interact with other animals regularly. Consult your veterinarian for more information on the vaccines that are recommended for your pet.

Adult dogs and cats will need to be given booster shots regularly to maintain their disease resistance. Boosters are usually given once every three years or once every year. When your dog or cat's booster shots are due, your veterinarian will notify you.

Does my pet need parasite prevention?

Parasites can be dangerous to Stockton pets' health. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can infect your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, which is why your veterinarian will advise you on how to keep parasites from invading your pet. It's also important to remember that some parasites can be passed from pets to their caring owners!

Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:

  • Heartworm
  • Fleas
  • Lyme Disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms 
  • Tapeworms
  • Whipworm

Is preventive care expensive?

Compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders or diseases, (especially heartworm) regularly scheduled wellness exams combined with preventive care can save you money. 

Not only that, but they'll make sure your pet is in as little pain as possible as a result of any health problems they're having. A medical problem can be diagnosed and treated more quickly if it is discovered early on.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

American Veterinary Hospital provides advanced specialist care for dogs and cats in Stockton. For more information about our animal hospital in Stockton, please contact us.

New Patients Welcome

American Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Stockton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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