Guest Writer: Ryean Bishop
You feed him, water him, take him for walks, and occasionally get him shots. So that means Sparky is perfectly taken care of and healthy….right? This might not always be the case because of health problems that may be occurring internally. Even if the problems are more obvious you may not be doing the right thing to treat them. Since dogs cannot communicate illness as well as humans can, it often goes unnoticed until it is too late. Annual checkups help with that problem by detecting any health irregularities early or helping to educate on what prevention may be needed.
It is just as important for your pet to get a check up as it is for you. Veterinarians can educate pet owners on signs of threat and how to combat them. For example, certain dogs are prone to hip dysplasia. If you find out your dog is susceptible early, you can prevent spending thousands on surgery later on by making sure that they have a healthy weight and lots of low impact exercise like swimming. With their expertise, Veterinarians can help Sparky to maintain a high quality of life for a long time.
So what exactly do they check? The typical procedure is called the “Head to Tail” method. A vet will literally work his or her way down the body inspecting for possible irregularities. At the head they inspect the nose for hints of Canine Distemper or a respiratory infection, the mouth for tartar build up, anemia, or oral tumors, and the ears for ear mites or other pests/infections. In the chest region they check the lungs and heart of the animal. An irregular heart beat or fluid in the lungs can be found with the simple use of a stethoscope and a trained ear. Vets then go on to check the skin and coat, spine and tail, digestive tract and abdomen. Dogs could get ticks, fleas, spine abnormalities, stomach pain or lumps, abnormal stool, and muscle damage in the legs or feet.
They are looking for very small details and narrowing down from wide range of possible issues. Without a trained eye and professional tools made specifically for examining dogs, the decision that your dog is “fine” may not be true. This professional advice is irreplaceable when it comes to the life of your precious pet.
Many believe that they will be able to detect health issues on their own by noticing a change in the pet’s temperament. The truth of the matter is, changes in temperament do not usually occur until the problem has become severe. Your dog could be suffering from bacterial infections, parasites, or allergic reactions and you wouldn’t even know it. Vaccinations are not a complete health care package for dogs. Most vaccinations do not expire until 1-3 years after the fact. Because of this, remaining attentive to your dog’s health throughout the year is crucial.
The minimum schedule for dogs to get checkups is once a year. However, if your dog is hereditarily prone to having a certain health issue, you may need to take more trips to make sure that you are still on the right track for prevention. If you live in an area where ticks are common or other dogs around are getting Heartworm, Bordatella, or ear mites a checkup will be necessary as well. A simple motto can be used to remind you when you to go to your Veterinarian. “When in doubt, have the Vet check it out.” Constant vigilance is key to your pet remaining happy and healthy.
The perfect way to ensure the health of your sweet, little Sparky is to trust a professional. Yearly checkups will allow him to live a better life, and you to provide that for him the best you can.
Author Bio- Ryean Bishop is a health and wellness expert for dogs. He strongly believes that annual Veterinarian visits are the number one thing owners can do to maintain a healthy pet. For more information, or to schedule your pet’s checkup today, please visit BAMCvet.com.