Lifestage Pet Wellness Exams & Preventive Medicine
Lifestage Pet Wellness Exams are an extremely important part of your pet’s healthcare. The needs of a puppy or kitten are much different than the needs of a mature adult and much different than the needs of a senior or geriatric dog or cat! Personalized pet wellness exams and care are not the norm in veterinary medicine, but they are what we practice here in Tampa at Circle of Life Animal Hospital.
There are many things to take into account when we discuss the needs of your pet.
- What environment do they live in?
- Are there other pets in the household?
- What are their ages of the other pets in the house and do they live mainly outside or inside?
- Are there children in the household?
- Does your pet go to the dog park? Doggy daycare? To the groomer? Does your cat go onto the patio or go out for a few hours during the day? (or night?)
- Do you have to worry about intestinal worms or parasites?
- Do you have a large breed or small breed dog (or both!) And different breeds have different health concerns to watch for.
- Do you know whether your older pet’s kidney function is normal?
Health Concerns for Different Lifestages
Older pets can have slight elevations in their liver or kidney levels that can be detected in bloodwork far sooner than waiting for clinical signs to show up. In fact, many diseases that dogs and cats acquire over time can be detected early on and changes in diet and maintenance care can many times slow the progression of these diseases. True preventative care means watching these organ function levels over time and seeing what the trends are showing us. It is time to intervene before your pet becomes ill.
And each stage of your pet’s life has different needs. Lifestage pet wellness exams address those needs and answer questions that are important in each year of your pet’s life. Discussing what we should be watching for and also what is going well for your pet will help you in being a partner with us. What works for one pet will not always work well for another because of all the variations in pet’s environments, the difference in their genetics and how they tolerate treatments or medications.
Quality of life is the utmost importance for your pet (and for you!) We strive to look for those differences in each pet that you care for and come up with the best plans for them each and every year of their life!
Make your Lifestage Pet Wellness Exam appointment with us and let’s start planning the best life possible for your precious furry friend.
Wellness Care for Pets at Various Stages of Life
Puppies and Kittens
When you first add a new puppy or kitten to your home, we are here to help right away. We recommend that all new pets be brought in early—within the first week of their new life with you, if possible—so that we can conduct a physical check-up and ensure that your pet is healthy. We can help with a number of important first steps for new pets, including:
- Behavior rewarding techniques
- Deworming schedules
- Ear care
- Grooming recommendations
- Potty training information
- Proper nutrition recommendations
- Spay and neuter recommendations
- Training advice
- Vaccination protocols
- …and more
Because of vaccine protocols, we will often see new pets several times over the course of their first six months of life with you, offering you ample time to ask us questions and discuss pet care issues with our team.
Adult Dogs and Cats
When your pet is an adult, the most important aspects of their care include ongoing, annual wellness examinations to ensure that they are healthy and preventive care (including vaccines and pest preventatives) to keep them from acquiring diseases and parasites. We recommend periodic blood work and other diagnostic tests so that we can keep “normal” results on file as a baseline. This allows us to cross-check results we take during your pet’s senior years, helping us to identify changes in your pet.
During your pet’s adult years, it’s important to ensure that they are healthy. Some basic care concerns that will follow them throughout their lives include:
- Behavior concerns
- Continued training
- Pest prevention
- Vaccination protocol adherence
- Weight management
- …and more
Circle of Life Animal Hospital is your support for the life of your pet and we are here to answer your questions no matter what stage of life your pet is in. Please contact us with your questions today!
Senior Dogs and Cats
Senior pet care needs will vary from pet to pet and this is largely the most individualized of all life stage care. In dogs, some breeds age faster than others, and generally, the smaller breeds age slower than the larger breeds. In cats, domestic breeds will often age slower than exotic breeds. Because senior care needs vary so greatly from one pet to another, Circle of Life Animal Hospital emphasizes the importance of annual blood work and other diagnostics for each senior pet in order to examine:
- Blood pressure (for hypertension/high blood pressure)
- Eye pressure (for glaucoma)
- Ophthalmoscope exams (for cataracts and changes in retinas and lenses)
- Organ function
- Thyroid values
- Urine tests (to check for protein losses in the urine from early kidney dysfunction)
Early diagnostic tests to identify health conditions or notice changes from baseline tests performed during the adult years are critical for senior pets. Many of the conditions we seek to identify show no outward signs until the problems have developed significantly, so diagnostic testing is an important part of early identification. From this point, we can work closely with the patient to treat the condition and minimize symptoms that will affect their life.
Senior pets may also need to be evaluated for painful conditions that may affect their quality of life. We can examine and treat chronic arthritis, helping to ensure that senior pets can be comfortable and happy.