The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly holds true when it comes to pet health. The cost of prevention is often a fraction of the cost of treating a disease or problem once it has become more advanced, and early diagnosis and treatment of developing problems or diseases can increase the likelihood of successful outcomes.
Preventive healthcare involves a multi-faceted approach that includes veterinary evaluation of your pet’s overall health and risks of disease or other health problems. Based on the findings, Laurelwood Animal Hospital will provide you with recommendations for your pet’s nutrition, dental care, vaccinations and heartworm/flea/tick prevention, as well as recommendations specifically tailored to your pet’s health status and risk factors.
What is a Wellness Visit?
The first part of a wellness visit is a health evaluation. This includes a thorough history including information about a pet’s breed, age, lifestyle, behavior, and diet; a comprehensive physical exam; and measuring some basic parameter like weight, temperature, and pulse and respiration rates. All of the information gathered during this part of the visit is initially used to assess whether a pet might actually be sick rather than well, which changes the entire nature of the appointment.
For example, if I note that your cat has lost a little weight, and in following that up with you, you say, “Yeah, now that you mention it, she has been eating more than normal,” we will be spending the rest of the appointment discussing the need to test for hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, and other diseases rather than what vaccinations she should get.
But, assuming that your pet gets a clean (or at least not too dirty) bill of health, the rest of the wellness visit deals almost exclusively with preventive care, which can be divided into several categories:
Parasite control (heartworms, external parasites, and intestinal parasites)
Identification (e.g., microchips)
Reproductive counseling (e.g., spay/neuter)
A plan for follow-up and the next routinely scheduled visit
Laurelwood Animal Hospital will determine what is appropriate for your pet in each of these categories based on what was revealed during the health evaluation part of the appointment. We will review our recommendations with you and explain the reasoning behind each decision. Feel free to ask any questions or concerns — two-way communication between the doctor and owner is essential to success.