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Top 10 Veterinary Care Items to Prioritize in 2024

Help your pet have their healthiest year yet by prioritizing these top 10 foundational veterinary care items!





Wellness Exam / Check Up

Wellness exams, also known as 'check ups' or 'physicals', are the cornerstone of your pet's health. These wellness exams provide the opportunity for your veterinarian to perform a thorough nose to tail examination of your pet across all of their body systems. When done regularly, these examinations can aid in identifying health concerns in their early stages, improving prognoses. The recommended frequency for wellness exams depends on your pet's age: it's suggested that pets under seven years of age receive a wellness exam once per year, while pets seven years and older should have a wellness exam every six months. When was the last time your pet had a physical?



Dental Cleanings

Dental care is one of the most important components of your pet’s health care plan. Dental disease is caused by the build up of plaque and tartar in the mouth, and is a painful, serious condition. The teeth and gums provide a direct pathway to the rest of your pet's body via the blood stream, allowing infection from dental disease to travel quickly through the body, causing systemic issues including damage to vital organs. Pets should receive yearly dental cleanings to minimize the impact of dental disease through the removal of plaque and tartar build up. When was the last time your pet had a dental cleaning?



Parasite Prevention

Parasites are unfortunately very common amongst dogs and cats alike. There are many parasites that can affect our pets, and while most of them are more nuisance than worrisome, there are several parasitic conditions, such as lyme disease and heartworm, that have serious health implications and in some cases can even be fatal. The good news is that you can very easily protect your pets from parasitic disease by using prescription parasite prevention! There are several variations of parasite prevention, so we recommend asking your veterinarian which option is best suited for your pet based on your geographic location and lifestyle. Regardless of which prevention you choose however, it should always be given consistently and year round - unfortunately there is no off season for parasites, even during months when we see drops in temperature.



Parasite Screening

Second to prevention, regular parasitic screening is a key part of protecting your pet from parasites - should your pet contract a parasite, early detection minimizes the health implications associated with the infection. Typically it's recommended that both dogs and cats be screened for GI parasites annually, through a fecal analysis. Dogs need an additional annual screen to look for tick borne diseases and heartworm, which is done through a blood test.


Vaccinations

Vaccines are the best way to keep your pet safe from the many communicable diseases they are susceptible to. With just a minor preventative needle poke, you can protect your pet from severe illnesses that when contracted, often require weeks of hospitalization and sometimes result in death. We recommend discussing with your veterinarian which vaccines are best suited for your pet, as it depends slightly on lifestyle and geographic location.


Blood Work + Urinalysis

Preventative blood and urine screenings are powerful tools that allow your pet's veterinary team to see inside your pet's body to gain an understanding of how each organ is functioning. These diagnostics can help identify concerns in their earliest stages, improving prognoses and eliminating suffering. The recommended frequency for preventative diagnostic screening depends on your pet's age: it's suggested that pets under seven years of age receive a screening once per year, while pets seven years and older should have a screening every six months.


Weight Screening + Nutritional Consult

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to increase your pet's longevity and improve their quality of life. Review the Body Condition Score Chart below to evaluate where your pet falls on the scale. If you feel your pet may be overweight, we recommend meeting with your veterinarian to review nutritional recommendations.



Microchip

Safety first! Microchipping your pet is the single best way to increase the chances you'll be reunited with your pet should they ever become separated from you. Collars fall off, tags become worn and illegible, but microchips last! The microchip implantation process is quick, easy and similar to a vaccine in terms of patient experience. Once your pet is microchipped, be sure to keep the contact information associated with the chip current and up to date!


Grooming

Staying up to date on your pet’s grooming routine is a vital part of maintaining their overall health and quality of life. When grooming is overlooked, painful conditions develop such as fur matting, nail overgrowth and even ear infections. We suggest scheduling regular appointments to provide your pet with veterinary grooming such as nail trims, anal gland expressions, ear cleanings and baths.


Spay + Neuter

Spaying or neutering your pet contributes greatly to both their global quality of life as well as their longevity. Spaying and neutering has been seen to reduce the occurrence of challenging behaviors such as roaming, marking and increased anxiety, and has also been known to contribute to reduced risk for certain metabolic diseases. We encourage you to discuss spaying and neutering with your veterinarian to determine the ideal age at which your pet should undergo their spay/neuter surgery.

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