A wellness vet is an animal doctor who specializes in holistic medicine. Find out more about this new profession and what to expect at a wellness appointment with your vet.
What are wellness exams?
Wellness exams in dogs are conducted by veterinary professionals and their purpose is to examine, diagnose, treat and practice preventive medicine.
Why are wellness appointments essential?
Taking your dog to a wellness exam is an essential part of being a pet parent. Wellness exams give veterinary professionals a better view on your pet’s health. It’s recommended to take your pet to a veterinary clinic from an early age to start preparing and equipping their immune system through the administration of vaccines. Also, this can help catch underlying diseases that your pup may have and treat them or to practice preventive medicine through supplements or surgical procedures and taking the opportunity to get informed on potential diseases your dog may suffer from due to their breed.
What to expect in a wellness exam as a pet parent?
The veterinary professionals will observe your pet’s behavior before starting the wellness exam. The goal of a veterinary professional is to make the consult as comfortable and stress-free as possible for your pup. Once the veterinarian creates a relationship and connection with your pet they will proceed with a physical exam. What are we looking for on a physical exam?
It’s important that pet parents give the veterinary professionals a history on their pet to do a successful physical exam. Some of the questions that can be kept in mind are the following:
Have they been vomiting?
Have you noticed a difference in behavior?
Have they lost appetite?
Have you noticed any bumps or changes on their skin?
Pet parents should be as descriptive as possible to the veterinary professionals about their observations.
Is your your dog on an ideal weight? If not, we will notify the pet parent and come up with a diet plan to achieve the ideal body condition for our patient.
The veterinary professionals will observe your pet starting from their eyes, nose and ears. They are looking for any signs of discharge, atrophy and redness. This will be followed by the coat and skin. Is the coat dull? Is there loss of hair? Are there any parasites present on the skin or coat? Then they will listen to the heart and lungs. This practice can help identify different conditions and diseases found on the cardiovascular system. Finally, they will palpate the abdomen, lymph nodes and joints to look for any sign of pain or discomfort if any.
In younger dogs veterinary professionals are mainly looking for hernias and compromised immune systems. In older dogs, we look to monitor their physiological processes. This is why it’s recommended to do blood work on dogs that are 7 years or older. This also depends on the findings on the physical exam and the veterinary professional.
How often should you bring your pet to a wellness exam?
Veterinary professionals recommend annual wellness exams. For older dogs or pets that have been diagnosed with an underlying disease should visit their veterinarian every 6 months. The timeframe also depends on the treatment they may be going through but the rule of thumb for wellness exams should be every 6-12 months.
What was your experience at a wellness exam? Did your doctor perform the same exam or was it different? Let us know in the comments below.