Although it might seem counter-intuitive to visit your vet when your pet appears to be perfectly healthy, visiting your vet is not just something you need to do when your pet is sick.
Your pet needs regular check-ups to stay healthy but exactly how often they need to see a vet will mostly depend on their stage of life.
Just like we need more medical attention at the start and at the end of our lives, your pet will need more vet visits in the first year of their life and then again as they enter their senior years.
Your Puppy or Kitten
In the first year of your pet’s life, you’ll probably need to visit your vet at least three or four times.
When you first bring your puppy or kitten home, they’ll need a course of vaccines and they’ll start heartworm and flea- and tick-prevention medications. Your vet will also examine your puppy or kitten to make sure they’re growing well and showing no signs of any illness.
The core vaccines we use for all kittens and cats is known as F3, which protects against three diseases: feline panleukopenia (feline enteritis/feline parvovirus), feline herpes virus (cat flu) and feline calicivirus (cat flu).
Initially, this vaccine is given as a course of four shots over the first year of your cat’s life, at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, followed by a final booster at 6-15 months of age.
Your puppy will have a course of three vaccinations called the C4 vaccine, which protects against parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis and parainfluenza. This is given four weeks apart at 6-8 weeks, then 12-14 weeks and 16-18 weeks. They will also receive an oral vaccination against Bordetella, the bacterial element of kennel cough.
And then, if you’re desexing your puppy or kitten, this commonly occurs at around 6 months of age.
Your Adult Cat or Dog
Although they might still behave like teenagers, dogs or cats aged from one year up to seven to ten years (depending on the size of your pet and the breed) are classified as adults.
During this stage of your pet’s life, you might be lucky enough to only visit your vet once a year for their annual check-up. Your vet will give your pet a head-to-tail physical, possibly take a blood sample and may administer other vaccines to prevent illnesses like kennel cough or feline leukaemia.
Your pet’s annual health check-up is also a great opportunity to bring up any questions you might have about pet nutrition, pet behaviour and other issues.
You’ll also need to visit your vet to obtain an annual certificate of vaccination for your pet if you need to use a kennel or cattery.
Your Senior Pet
Because your pet ages much faster than you do, health changes in your pet will also happen much more quickly. This is why we suggest twice-yearly check-ups for your pets from around seven years of age and onwards.
In addition to vaccinations and a thorough physical exam, your senior pet will also need blood and urine tests as they become more susceptible to the common diseases of ageing: arthritis, diabetes, gum disease, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, thyroid problems and even dementia.
Your pet’s check-up with your vet is also your chance to mention any concerns you have about changes you’ve seen in your pet. Even little changes, such as your cat needing to drink more water or your dog no longer looking for twice daily walks can be signs of a new problem such as kidney disease or arthritis.
The Importance of Annual Health Checks
Annual health checks are vital for your pet’s health because it allows us to diagnose, treat or even prevent problems in your pet before they become life-threatening. If you’re not sure whether you need to visit your vet or not, you can read more here.
At Vetaround, we understand that it’s not always possible for you and your pet to come to a vet surgery, which is why we come to you.
So regardless of the age or the life stage of your pet, if they’re due for a vaccination, an annual health check, or you think they might need to see a vet, give our mobile vet a call and we will bring our Vetaround surgery to you.