At Ourimbah Veterinary Hospital, we believe in delivering a pet care plan for your pet for life. This means we are instrumental in helping your pet achieve a happy and healthy life, not just trying to fix problems when they arise.
Good health care for your newest addition starts with the first health assessment and primary immunisation course given as a puppy or kitten. For more information on our early health care recommendations please visit our puppies and kittens page. When it comes to improving the quality and length of our pet’s lives, we consider prevention of disease of utmost importance, followed closely by early detection and subsequent treatment. For this reason, it is important that all pets, even those young and healthy and seemingly in perfect health, have yearly exams.
Routine desexing procedures are performed at 6 months of age. The pre-anaesthetic blood work we recommend for your pet before a routine spey or castration is often the first opportunity to establish baseline laboratory values. In other words, to determine what’s normal for your pet. This is important and particularly useful in future visits, allowing detection of subtle variations away from your pet’s established baselines, and may be the first indication of developing disease.
The first annual examination is generally performed at 15 months of age, where we will perform a complete clinical examination, update vaccination status and ensure all other healthcare preventatives are in place.
Did you know that every year for a dog or a cat is equivalent to several years for a person when it comes to aging? Going to the vet once a year is equivalent to us people visiting our doctor every 5-7 years… so much can change in this time in the life of your pet, so more frequent visits become increasingly important as times goes by.
As your pet ages we recommend physical exams and blood tests once to twice per year. Any deviations in your pet’s baseline lab values may detect early developing disease when it is most treatable. You never know a slight lameness could indicate a more serious underlying disease such as arthritis, a condition you may not be able to detect on your own. For animals with certain clinical signs, radiographs and other imaging studies may lead to the crucial early diagnosis of conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and even cancer.
Pets are instinctually wired to hide the clinical signs of disease from their owners, which can result in late stage diagnosis where treatment is costly and often less likely to be effective. A good example is a tooth identified as having mild calculus requiring scaling versus tooth (usually multiple) extractions due to painful periodontal disease.
So preventive care not only helps to detect disease in its early stages, when it is most likely to respond to treatment, but it also can help you avoid significant medical expense and risk to your pet’s health down the track.
Regardless of your pet’s age, you play a key role in helping them combat illness and remain as healthy as possible. Remember, they cannot descibe symptoms to you, but they will show you signs of disease or illness. Awareness of the signs of the most common diseases is one way to help reduce your pet’s risk.