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Our dogs and cats are more than just pets and are much loved and important family members. This is why you do everything to keep them as healthy and happy as possible.

You might be the best pet parent in the world, walking them every day, feeding them premium diets and spending as much time with them as possible. And, because they’re perfectly healthy, you might wonder if an annual vet visit is really that necessary.

In short, yes – it’s still necessary to visit the expert vets at Brighton Veterinary Hospital at least once a year.

Pets age more rapidly than humans

Cats and dogs sadly only have a typical life span of 10-15 years. This means that pets are ageing more rapidly than humans. A general rule of thumb is that pets age 7 human years, per calendar year throughout their life. So, for a dog that is 2 years old, a human would be 14 years old. This is why we feel annual check-ups are important because it would be like a human going to the doctor once every 7 years. And like humans, typically as pets age, their health can deteriorate and often require increased medical intervention. At Brighton Veterinary Hospital, we recommend 6 monthly check-ups for senior pets.

What happens at an annual vet visit?

Even if your pet is their happy, energetic self, it’s still necessary to bring them in for a check-up at least once a year. At this visit, your pet receives a physical examination from head to tail. Here’s why a physical examination is so important:

  • Teeth and mouth
    Your vet examines your pet’s teeth and mouth for signs of gingivitis, periodontal disease and oral cancer. If not checked, it can result in your pet experiencing toothache, tooth loss, tooth abscesses and cancer progression.
  • Skin
    Your pet’s skin is also thoroughly checked during an annual vet visit. This screens for allergies, fleas, mites, lumps, skin infections and ear infections.
  • Eyes and Ears
    Vets check for eye and ear comfort and look for any signs of inflammation or infection.
  • Heart and lungs
    Just like what happens when you go to the doctors for a check-up, the vet checks your pet’s heart and lungs too. This screens for congestive heart failure, bronchitis and asthma.
  • Kidney and liver
    Typically, kidney and liver conditions are screened via urine, blood or ultrasound tests. During your pet’s examination, the vet will determine if these additional tests are necessary and will develop a diagnostic and treatment plan accordingly. These tests would assist in diagnosing bladder stones, chronic kidney failure, inflammatory and cancerous conditions of the liver.
  • Joints and bones
    Joint pain is something pets are often good at concealing, making it vital to see the vet at least once a year. The vet will conduct an orthopaedic assessment to determine any evidence of osteoarthritis or other development conditions. A diagnostic treatment plan may include sedation and x-rays if concerned are raised in the examination.

Pets are like humans in the sense that they have complex bodies. Our pets can’t talk and sometimes they may be dealing with conditions that can be easily confused with normal ageing. At your annual vet visit, we will help you distinguish normal ageing from your pet dealing with medical conditions. At this visit, our vets will also share the latest in treatment options, which are constantly evolving.

By scheduling an annual vet visit, you’ll have the benefit of a peace of mind and most importantly enjoying the longest possible companionship with your fur baby.

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