Most pet owners take their pets to the vet when sick or injured. However, there is a saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this is spot on when it comes to looking after your furry friend. Dogs and cats do not always communicate their discomfort, but during a routine visit, vets can identify early signs that could cause your pet issues later.
Regular vet checks are important. Ideally, your dog should visit a vet at least once a year. Older pets or ones with medical needs should have more frequent checks. A physical examination will cover a nose-to-tail check, including weight and body condition, dental check-ups, feeling for lumps and bumps, arthritis, eye problems, heart disease, and, most likely, a pet microchip scan.
If you are unsure what happens at a vet check, here are a few things you can expect!
Pet Microchipping Scan
Vets often begin regular vet checks with a pet microchip scan to confirm that the dog matches their system. They also verify it is working correctly and has not moved significantly under the skin. Microchipping is crucial these days, and since 2016 it has been a legal requirement for dogs to be chipped and their Keeper details kept up to date – Keeper’s face fines of up to £500 if they don’t. A vet or a Microchip Implanter can microchip your pet. However, it is the Keeper’s responsibility to register their pet microchip on a database. If your pet goes missing or is stolen, when found, scanning the chip is the first port of call for vets, so this is about getting your pet returned to you as quickly as possible.
Your vet will check your pet’s weight and body condition. Like humans, dogs and cats can put on weight, particularly as they age. Vets often have a body condition chart showing a pet’s Body Condition Score (BCS). It helps to understand their ideal weight and shape. Your vet or nurse will advise of any weight management requirements and the reasons why, such as diabetes, heart disease or arthritis.
Catching the early signs of dental issues helps to sort problems before they get too bad. Establishing a dental routine is much better than the pain or operation your pet might need if tooth decay sets in. If your pet is a rabbit, it is essential to understand that their teeth continually grow, so knowing how to care for them is vital, which the vet can advise you on.
Skin & Ear Infections
Spotting the signs of dry skin and ear infections early can mean your furry friend will not be bothered by it too much! Vets will check over your pet’s fur, looking for ticks or fleas, plus they will look in their ears to ensure they are not inflamed or waxy. The vet can advise on ways to keep them clean and preventative care.
Lumps and Bumps
A vet will feel along your pet’s body for any lumps, bumps, or swellings and any signs that indicate pain in your pet. They will palpate the abdomen area to see if they can detect any masses.
Your vet will look at your pet’s joints, checking the range of motion to ensure they are moving as they should be. They will listen to their heart and look in their eyes to check for problems. All these are standard checks to catch anything early.
Final Paws for Thought
Regular vet checks are important, not just for the things you can see but any concerns you may have. This could be as small as toenail length, them drinking more or that they are dragging their bottoms along the floor. Any worries, just mention it.
You can tie in the check-up with their annual vaccinations to keep it simple for you but of course, if you have concerns in between, always ring your vet to make an appointment.