The American Animal Hospital Association recommends (AAHA) that your pet have a wellness exam at least once a year. As your pet ages, they recommend more frequent exams. The decision regarding the specific frequency of visits will be made by your veterinarian and will be based on the individual needs of each pet. Wellness exams give us a chance to evaluate your pets overall health and allow us to detect potential problems before they become more serious.
What should I expect?
During your annual wellness exam, a complete history will be taken, including your pets current medications, the type of food they eat, and any changes in behavior or lifestyle. A complete physical exam will be performed which includes a head to toe examination including dental assessment, pain assessment, and body and muscle condition scoring. Based on history and physical exam findings, individual recommendations will be made for specific medical conditions, parasite prevention and control, dental care, behavior, nutrition and breed and age considerations. Diagnostics tests such as blood tests for heartworm and tick transmitted diseases, intestinal parasite testing, and blood work for disease screening for kidney, liver and blood disorders may be performed.
What vaccinations does my pet need?
Vaccinations are a crucial part of caring for your pet and preventing illness is critical to maintaining your pet's health. While we realize that vaccines are important, we realize that not every pet requires the same vaccinations. What vaccines are recommended for an individual pet depends on many factors: what kind of exposure to the disease the animal has, what diseases are common in the area, and what kind of stress factors are present.
When you consider all these factors, in general, vaccinations are divided into "core" and "non-core".
"Core" vaccinations are recommended for all pets in accordance with existing AAHA guidelines. "Non-Core" vaccinations are additional vaccines that are decided upon based on each pet's individual risk factors. These are discussed further on an individual basis with your veterinarian.
Please see the following link for additional resources regarding types of vaccinations:
Vaccine Recommendations for General Practice