5 Reasons To Take Your Healthy Pet To The Vet
The goal of any veterinarian is to uphold animal health and welfare and to prevent and relieve animal suffering; as stated in the oath we take upon entering the field.
August 22, 2023
Vet visits are clearly important for sick pets to get back on the road to health. But as we’ll discover, it’s also important to bring healthy pets to the vet. Below we explore 5 reasons why healthy pets should go to the vet; some points you’re probably already familiar with but others may be less obvious.
1. An Ounce of Prevention
No doubt, if you’ve had a dog or cat for any length of time you are familiar with recommendations for core vaccines and parasite control measures. There are many diseases that are easily prevented by ensuring your pet is up to date on their vaccines. Some of these diseases, such as Rabies and Leptospirosis, can pose serious health concerns for you as well as your pet.
Parasite prevention is also important for keeping pets healthy and we aren’t just talking about fleas. Intestinal parasites, heartworms, and ticks can also pose serious threats to your pet’s health making year-round prevention a feature of any wellness plan. Many of the conditions easily prevented by vaccines and parasiticides can have a lifelong impact on your pet’s health and some are life ending. As the saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
2. Screen Time
No, we aren’t suggesting that your pet visit the vet’s office to binge watch a favorite show. Vet visits are an important time for health screening. Catching diseases early can have a huge positive impact on available treatments and on the ultimate outcome. Bringing your pet to the vet for a routine physical exam is a major part of this effort. Additionally, having your pet’s weight checked routinely will screen for loss or gain that may go undetected otherwise. Your trusted family veterinarian is trained to take note of changes that may seem insignificant but are worth further attention.
3.What is ‘Normal’ Anyway?
When assessing your pet’s vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate your veterinarian will consider a range for what is normal. Reference ranges are well established but can represent a wide window of acceptable values. Bringing your pet in for checking vital signs and screening blood panels allows your vet to establish a baseline that is specific to your pet. This adds in sensitivity that may not otherwise be there.
As an example, if your pet’s blood pressure is creeping up but still within the “normal” reference range, a one time spot check will not yield as much useful information as periodic readings which can show changes over time. Bringing your pet to the veterinarian while they are healthy helps determine what is normal in your pet; afterall, what is normal for some may be abnormal for others.
4. Conditional Love
Vets love animals, but the love isn’t always mutual. For pets who are uncomfortable at the vet's office or for young pets who haven’t yet formed an opinion, desensitization and conditioning are wonderful tools for helping them be confident during vet visits. Conditioning is useful for pets who are not yet fearful, giving them the opportunity to have purely positive experiences at the vet will help them associate veterinary visits with pleasurable things like treats and snuggles from staff.
Desensitization is a long but powerful process by which a fearful pet is exposed to triggers in small but increasing doses, ensuring they remain calm at each step. This may mean driving to the vet and getting treats in the car before heading home, then next time entering the building and getting some treats from the receptionist before leaving. Speak with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist to develop and plan tailored to your pet.
In case of emergency, it is beneficial to have an established relationship with a veterinary clinic or hospital. It may seem unimportant now, but simply knowing where the nearest clinic is, having the phone number saved in your contacts, and having a file started with all your pet’s information can save time and energy in an urgent situation. In a true emergency, your general practice veterinary staff can point you toward the best option for emergency care if they are not able to provide it.
The goal of any veterinarian is to uphold animal health and welfare and to prevent and relieve animal suffering; as stated in the oath we take upon entering the field. By partnering with a trusted veterinarian in your area, you can ensure your pet receives the preventative care they need and that your veterinarian has the information and relationship with your pet needed to best carry out their solemn oath.
Dr. Gary graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. After graduation, he moved west. Dr. Gary spent a year at a mixed animal practice in Oregon before moving to Fresno where he worked at All Creatures Veterinary Clinic from 2011-2021. Dr. Gary grew up constantly learning and finding ways to help others. He loved everything animal related, whether it was watching wildlife or visiting pet stores. His parents allowed him to have a variety of pets growing up from hamsters, fish, and parakeets to iguanas... as long as they did not need live food. Dr. Gary believes precious memories with your pet should never be overshadowed by a stressful goodbye. He has firsthand experience with the stress of saying goodbye to his first dog Willy at the clinic, and since then being able to say goodbye to two other dogs at home. This is why a peaceful passing at home is so important to him. In his free time, Dr. Gary enjoys family time working around his small hobby farm, watching sports, and hiking around the Sierras. Read More