Having your pet examined by a veterinarian every year is very important for their long term health and quality of life. Annual vet visits can extend their longevity through a number of ways, while also helping them stay comfortable and active through all stages of their life. Additionally, getting your pet vaccinated each year will not only protect them but also your family from certain infectious diseases. It is important to note that each state also has laws outlining certain rabies vaccine requirements, which means most pets will either need an annual rabies vaccine by law or a 3 year rabies vaccine.

Annual veterinary exams can help catch a disease or other medical condition early before it advances or causes more harm. For example, arthritis can be diagnosed by a veterinarian even before it’s noticeable to you through palpations and flexion of the knee and hip joints. If arthritis is caught early, you can prevent it from advancing into a more severe form that causes pain and discomfort.

The treatment options during these early stages of arthritis are usually very simple and inexpensive. To prevent it from becoming worse, a veterinarian can recommended a daily supplement such as a concentrated fish oil made for pets that can be easily applied to their food. However, if arthritis is not caught early, treatment options might only be able to help alleviate the pain through expensive medications or continual laser therapy treatments.

During an annual exam a veterinarian can also diagnose other issues with the eyes, teeth, skin, heart, and other areas of the body before they start causing visible side effects. When they palpate an animal’s body, a vet can find cancerous masses before they create noticeable symptoms. Based on their overall exam findings, they might also uncover environmental allergies or food allergies that were not previously diagnosed and potentially causing mild or severe forms of itchiness, irritation or ear infections.

In addition to your pet getting an thorough exam and vaccinations, there are additional preventative care options that are highly recommended. Fecal testing screens them for intentional parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia or giardia, which can cause a variety of issues. Heartworm testing for dogs screens them for heartworms, which can be deadly if left untreated. FeLV/FIV testing for cats screens them for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.

More advanced tests can be conducted as part of your pet’s annual preventative care as well. Blood panels can help assess kidney function and screen your pet for potentially harmful disease processes or other abnormalities. Urinalysis can help assess bladder health. Conducting these annual tests ensure you are being proactive about your pet’s health, which can catch problems early, prevent further damage and result in more effective treatments. This will ultimately save you money in the long run and give you more time with your furry family member.

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