With 2017 just beginning it is time to start thinking about your pets’ annual health check.
Just like a car MOT, regular health checks can help pick up developing problems in your pets and preventative action can sometimes divert problems all together. Your vet will perform a ‘head to tail’ exam of your pet to fully assess their well-being. For young, healthy pets we would recommend a check at least once a year; but ‘geriatric’ animals (cats and dogs over 8, rabbits over 5) benefit from more regular checks every six months as they are prone to many age related diseases.
Did you know, dental disease exists in 80% of dogs and cats over the age of 4? This starts as just mild staining of the teeth and if tooth brushing is started in time then often that is as bad as it gets. If left unattended it can lead to tartar build up, painful bleeding gums, and eventually tooth loss.
Your vet will listen carefully to their chest and have a thorough feel all over the body. Sometimes an unusual heart sound might be picked up with the stethoscope which could indicated developing heart disease. Changes in your pet’s gums can indicate developing liver disease long before your pet shows symptoms at home, and assessing your animal’s overall hydration status can give clues as to the health of their kidneys. Often small masses are discovered – a quick needle sample taken in the consulting room can tell us whether the mass is benign or possible cancerous.
With all disease, the sooner it is picked up the better the outcome. It’s not just dogs and cats that benefit from health checks, small ‘prey’ animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and degu are masters of disguise when it comes to hiding signs of illness, so a health check could be vital in catching diseases in their early stages.
Speak to your vet about the benefits of a new year MOT.