Your Fairfax Veterinarian Answers Pet Wellness FAQs
Pet wellness examinations are just as important as annual examinations for humans, arguably even more so since pets age much faster than we do. Wellness exams help to keep your pet healthy, ensuring the best possible quality of life, and also help to detect illnesses early in their course when more effective and less costly treatment is often available.
Do Pet Wellness Exams Include Laboratory Tests?
Many pets, just like many people - depending on their age and other risk factors - need laboratory testing as a part of their wellness exams. Here at our clinic in Fairfax, we pride ourselves in tailoring your pets preventive and wellness care to their unique needs and your preferences. If your pet is older, has unexplained behavioral changes or weight loss, changes in activity level or appetite, or changes in stool or urine output, we may recommend laboratory testing to help diagnose what is going on, and what treatment options might be available or appropriate. If your Fairfax veterinarian finds something abnormal during the physical exam, blood tests or x-rays may be needed to precisely identify the problem.
Why Does the Vet Want to Test My Pet for Heartworm During a Wellness Check?
Heartworm is a serious parasitic infection, and is often asymptomatic in its early stages. Pets can harbor heartworms in their bodies for months without symptoms appearing. Once symptoms do appear, treatment is much more difficult and associated with more risks. Heartworm preventives are monthly medications, usually given orally, that prevent heartworm infections. Heartworm preventives will not, however, cure heartworms once established. Heartworms do occur in Marin County. They are more prevalent here than in places south, like San Francisco. Heartworms are very common in places north, like Lake and Mendocino counties. Excellent information, as well as an incidence map, can be found at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/incidence-maps
Do Puppies, Kittens and Young Pets Really Need Pet Wellness Checks?
Yes! Puppies and kittens grow and develop as much in their first year of life as humans do in their first 18! Wellness exams are extremely important during this time to ensure proper development, nutrition, vaccinations, and parasite control. We can also help with advice on common behavioral and training challenges.
Will the Vet Clean My Pet's Teeth During a Wellness Exam?
Your Fairfax veterinarian will inspect your pet's teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay or periodontitis during the exam and recommend oral treatment if needed. We will discuss tooth brushing-just as important for dogs and cats as it is for people! Getting your pet's teeth cleaned requires a separate visit to the vet, since pets require general anesthesia for their teeth to be properly cleaned and evaluated. Clients frequently ask about “anesthesia-free dentistry”. Both the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Dental College have in-depth discussions on this topic. See
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