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How often should I take my pet to the vet?

You love your pet and aim to give them the best opportunity for a long and happy life. That's why it's crucial to prioritize regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care. But how frequently should you bring your dog or cat to the vet? Our vets at Pittsboro will now clarify this question.

Veterinary Preventive Care & Early Detection

Preventing serious diseases or detecting them early can contribute to your pet's longer and healthier life.

Regularly taking your dog or cat to the vet allows your vet to monitor your pet's overall health, identify the earliest signs of disease when conditions are most easily treated, and provide recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.

While we understand your concerns about the cost of routine check-ups when your pet appears healthy, adopting a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could ultimately save you the expenses associated with costly treatments in the future.

Routine Wellness Exams - Check-ups for Pets

Bringing your pet to the vet for a routine exam resembles scheduling a physical for your furry friend. Like people, the frequency of your pet's physical exams depends on their lifestyle, overall health, and age.

Healthy adult dogs are generally advised to undergo annual wellness exams. However, puppies, kittens, senior pets, and animals with underlying health conditions gain more benefits from undergoing examinations more frequently.

Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old

Your vet recommends monthly visits if your pet is under a year old.

Throughout your puppy or kitten's first year, they require several rounds of vaccinations to protect against common infectious diseases. Puppies should receive vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. Kittens should get the FVRCP vaccine, guarding against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL), given over approximately 16 weeks to ensure their well-being.

The timing of these vaccinations varies based on location and your pet's overall health. Between 6 - 12 months, our vets recommend spaying or neutering your puppy or kitten to prevent diseases, undesirable behaviors, and unwanted litters.

Adult Pets Up To 7 Years of Age

If you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat aged 1 to 7 years, it is advisable to schedule yearly routine exams. These exams involve annual physical check-ups, even if your pet appears completely healthy.

During your adult pet's routine exam, the vet will conduct a thorough head-to-tail examination to identify early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.

Your veterinarian will also administer any necessary vaccines, discuss your dog or cat's diet and nutritional requirements with you, recommend suitable parasite protection, and address any training or behavioral issues you may have observed.

If the vet identifies any signs of developing health issues, they will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.

Senior Dogs & Cats

Dogs, except giant breeds, typically enter their senior or geriatric phase around 8 years old. Giant breeds like Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more rapidly than other breeds, necessitating more frequent preventive care starting around 5 years of age.

Cats achieve senior status at the age of 11.

Due to the increased prevalence of diseases and injuries in older pets, we recommend scheduling veterinary visits for your senior dog or cat every 6 months. Biannual wellness check-ups for your senior pet encompass the checks and advice mentioned earlier, supplemented by additional diagnostic tests to gain deeper insights into your pet's overall health.

For our senior patients, we advocate diagnostic tests such as blood tests and urinalysis to identify early signs of issues like kidney disease or diabetes.

Geriatric care for pets involves a proactive approach to ensure the comfort of your aging dog or cat, especially as age-related problems like joint pain become more prevalent. If you have a senior pet, consult your vet to determine the optimal frequency for routine exams.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

To book your pet's routine exam or vaccines, contact us today to book an appointment. Our Pittsboro veterinarians can help you to give your pet the gift of good health.

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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