You love your furry, scaly, or feathered friend and want to give them the very best chance at a long, healthy life. That's why regular pet checkups and preventive care for cats, dogs, and exotic pets are important. But exactly how often should your pet see a veterinarian? Our Orlando vets explain.
Veterinary Preventive Care & Early Detection
Our veterinary team's highest priority is to help your pet live a long, healthy, and happy life. Preventing serious diseases or detecting them in their early stages plays a large role in helping to accomplish that goal.
Bringing your dog, cat, or exotic pet to the vet regularly allows your veterinarian to monitor your pet's general health, check for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and offer recommendations for the best preventive products for your four-legged or two-legged friend.
Our vets understand you might have concerns about bringing your feathered, scaly, or furry friend in for a routine checkup even when they seem healthy. However, taking a preventive and proactive approach to your pet's care may save you from having to pay for costly treatments down the road - and worry about potential long-term health implications for your animal.
Routine Pet Checkups
Scheduling your pet's routine wellness exam with your vet is similar to taking your animal in for a physical. Just like with people, how often your pet should see the vet for an examination depends on your pet's overall health, age, and lifestyle.
We typically recommend annual wellness exams for healthy adult dogs and cats. Puppies and kittens, animals with underlying health issues, and senior pets will likely need more frequent examinations - perhaps twice a year or more (your vet can provide specific recommendations).
Healthy avian and exotic pets such as birds, hamsters, snakes, rabbits, and lizards have special needs and will require regular physical exams to ensure any developing health issues are detected early and that nutritional and housing needs are met.
We'll also brief you on symptoms of common illnesses and recommend a preventive healthcare program geared to your pet's specific needs.
Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old
Is your puppy less than a year old? Monthly checkups with your vet are recommended.
Your puppy or kitten will need multiple rounds of vaccinations in their first year to help protect them against common infectious diseases. Recommended puppy vaccines include distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis.
Kittens should receive their FVRCP vaccine which helps to protect your feline friend against 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
These vaccines will be administered to your growing best friend over about 16 weeks and will go a long way toward preserving your puppy or kitten's health.
The precise timing of your pet's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall physical health.
Puppies and kittens between 6 and 12 months old should be neutered or spayed to prevent a range of diseases and undesirable behaviors, along with unwanted litters.
Adult Cats & Dogs Up to 7 Years of Age
If your healthy, active adult cat or dog is between 1 and 7 years old, we recommend they see a vet for a routine exam once a year. These examinations serve as annual physical checkups that are completed while your pet seems completely healthy.
During your adult cat or dog's checkup, your vet will examine your pet from head to tail, discuss nutritional needs and recommend appropriate parasite protection. They can also provide advice regarding any behavioral or training issues you might be noticing.
If your vet sees any signs of developing health issues, they'll discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.
Senior Dogs & Cats
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically starting around 5 years of age.
Cats are considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age. Since many animal diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets we recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly vet wellness check-ups for your senior pet near Orlando will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above, but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet's overall health.
Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your dog or cat comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior pet, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.
Exotic pets are unique species. From birds to guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles, lizards, and snakes, our vets at East Orlando Animal Hospital care for a range of these special animals. Your vet can determine how frequently they'll need to see your exotic pet - if they are very young, in their senior years (5 or more years of age, depending on the animal), or experiencing health issues, they may recommend a twice-yearly visit or more.
During your pet's initial wellness consultation - which should be booked shortly after you adopt them - the veterinarian will complete a comprehensive physical examination and review your animal's nutrition and housing needs with you.
Many veterinarians strive to make preventive care more affordable for their clients by offering Wellness Plans.
At East Orlando Animal Hospital we offer Wellness Plans for dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes to help make your pet's routine healthcare easier on your wallet. With our Wellness Plans, we bundle all the preventive services your pet needs to stay healthy including routine exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and more. Then we give you an affordable monthly payment plan to help you save money and manage your budget.
Ask your vet about a Wellness Plan for your cat or dog.
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.