As a responsible pet owner, exercising good preventative care should be high on your list of priorities. In some ways, annual veterinary visits compensate for the fact that pets cannot tell us how they’re feeling, as undetected issues can often be picked up during the consultation.
Not only intended to administer annual inoculations, annual check-ups are also an effective tool for detecting early warning signs for disease and other problems, especially as pets age, which may also benefit your pocket as treating full blown ailments can become an expensive exercise.
Tips for making the most of annual appointments:
Keep a list of all the questions you encounter between visits, to discuss these with your vet when you’re next there.
Often veterinarians can offer guidance on behavioural issues, or, at the very least, refer you to a qualified behaviourist for assistance, so be prepared to address any behavioural concerns you may have.
Keep a list and diary of unusual behaviour, to assist your vet in their diagnosis.
Use the session to re-evaluate your pet’s dietary needs, as changes in age, size and health often call for a change in diet. Always opt for a pet food brand that has committed to putting the health and nutritional wellbeing of your pet first by checking for confirmation of their PFI (Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa) membership, either by the PFI logo proudly displayed on their packaging or via the PFI website (pfisa.co.za). There are many health concerns that can be addressed with a simple change of diet.
Also discuss new developments in parasite care, such as tick and flea prevention as new, improved products are always being launched.
Although keeping up to date with annual check-ups is strongly advised, there are certain ailments that cannot wait for this once a year appointment to come around. Make an immediate appointment if any of the following concerning behaviours are noted:
Excessive thirst, lethargy or unexplained changes in appetite or weight
Persistent vomiting or diarrhoea, especially in the absence of eating and drinking, or constipation
Discovery of any lumps or bumps
Coughing, laboured breathing or shortness of breath
Increase in temperature, pulse or breathing rate
Abnormal discharges containing pus or blood.