You just got the postcard in the mail or the email in your inbox: It’s time for Fluffy’s yearly check up! You call to schedule the appointment for a couple days out. When you show up the staff and vet ask you a bunch of questions you’re not prepared for. “I just thought you guys look at Fluffy and tell me if something is wrong.” This is not the case! We need to work together to figure out if something could be going on with Fluffy. The main way we figure that out is through questions and the owner’s observations of how their pet has been doing the past year. This section will go through what you need to do to prepare for your annual visit to the veterinarian.
The first thing you will need to do is check your “pet inventory.” There are a lot of products to check for at home, and they each have their reason for letting your vet know about them.
1) Food: What kinda of food are you feeding? Your vet will need to discuss what is a good diet is what is not. Are you following the bags recommendation for your pets weight? Your pet may be overweight and we need to know if we are feeding too much.
2) Treats: What kind of treats are you feeding and how many are you feeding per day? This goes back to the weight issue again.
3) Preventatives: How much flea/tick/Heartworm preventative do you have left over. Unless you’ve had another pet pass away or someone gave you some preventative, you shouldn’t have any left over because you should be using it each month. Either way, have an idea of how much you need so you can get some while at the clinic.
4) Toys: What kind of toys do you have for your pets? Some toys we will highly recommend, some we are not a fans of. It is best to check with us to make sure we feel the toy is safe for your pet.
The second thing to think about is your pets behavior since the last visit. This can involve many different situations.
1) Urination/Defecation: Is your cat relieving themselves outside the box? Is your dog leaking urine in their sleep? Is a previously house trained pet forgetting their manors? All of these can be behavior issues or something more severe occurring.
2) Attitude: Does your pets attitude seem different? Do they seem more tired than normal? We need to know if they are a little more depressed so we can check that out as well.
3) Appetite/Water intake: Do you feel they are eating less or eating more? Do you feel they are drinking lots of water or not enough water?
4) Anxiety: Does your pet become very stressed when you leave? Or when people come over? Do they bark or hiss at everyone? Many of these issues can be fixed with some training and patience.
The third preparation to make is to take a general look at your pet.
1) Allergies: Are your pet’s feet red/inflamed? Are they itching all over? Have you noticed them scratching their ears? These could be signs of an underlying allergy.
2) Fleas: Have you seen fleas? Have you seen little specks of black on your pet’s skin?
3) Lumps/Bumps: Have you felt any lumps and bumps anywhere while petting your pet?
A quick tip for cat owners. Our pet cats know what those carriers are and sometimes they run and hide, making it an adventure to catch them and place them in there. The problem is, the cats only see these carriers when it is time to go to the vet, so it ends up being a major trigger of anxiety for them. If we know we are going to the vet soon, put the carrier out with the door open so the cat can get used to it. You can even place some food in there to show the cat that the carrier can be a good place too. Too many times do we just quickly place them in the carrier and stress them out, leading to a more difficult time next time we want to transport them.
Finally, what to bring with you to the visit.
1) Notes: Make some notes about all the items above. Chances are you will forget at least one or two items if not written down. This will help the exam to run more smoothly as well.
2) A Stool Sample: We need to run a fecal every year on your pet. If you can remember to bring in a fresh stool sample we can get the most accurate results for intestinal parasites.
3) Some of your pets favorite healthy treats to reward them for good behavior at the office! We want to make sure this trip is a fun and pleasurable for your pet as possible! The more they look forward to the trip, the less stressed out you will both be!
These yearly visits are very important! We can catch many issues early and address them before they become major problems. Seeing your pet will help us keep track of how they are doing and note any major changes! If you are unsure when your pet is due for an exam or shots, please call to check!