October is National Pet Wellness Month and focuses on educating pet owners about the importance of twice yearly wellness examinations, disease prevention and pet health insurance.
Why twice-a-year wellness exams? Pets age much faster than humans, especially larger breed dogs. Therefore, health problems can occur over a much shorter period of time. Wellness exams every 6 months, for the life of your pet, can help catch diseases earlier when they are easier to correct or manage. Wellness exams consist of a full physical exam as well as discussion of any physical or behavioral changes your pet may be experiencing. Further tests such as bloodwork or radiographs may be recommended based on history, exam findings, or the age of your pet.
Disease prevention is obviously another important part of your pet’s health. Pet wellness programs include vaccinations, heartworm preventatives, flea and tick preventatives and controlling intestinal parasites. There are core vaccines that all dogs and cats should receive regardless of lifestyle. However, there are other vaccinations that are recommended based on an individual animal’s risk of exposure. Your veterinarian can help design an appropriate vaccination protocol for your pet. Routine fecal screenings and deworming for intestinal parasites is also important. In addition to causing health problems for animals, some intestinal parasites can be transmitted to people. Monthly heartworm and flea and tick preventatives given year-round are also a vital part of a pet’s wellness program.
Pet health insurance has become much more popular in the past few years. Despite the increasing interest though, only 1%-2% of the nation’s pets are insured. There are many companies that offer pet health insurance as well as various policies and plans to choose from. Pet health insurance helps to ensure that you can provide the best medical care for your pet. There is nothing worse than having to make a decision between personal finances and the health and well being of your pet.
As everyone knows, prevention is the best medicine. While we are all looking for ways to cut costs in the current economy; the money spent for preventative and wellness care now will save you money in the future. So if your pet hasn’t seen their veterinarian in the past 6 months, it’s time for a wellness visit.