Q & A: Annual health checks

Q: Why are annual health checks important?

A: Because our pets cannot talk and tell us when something is wrong or hurting, health checks by a vet are very important to enable problems or diseases to be picked up early, before they become a big problem with no treatment.

Animals, especially cats, are very good at hiding pain and disease, so owners may miss subtle signs, but vets are trained to look for signs, behaviours and other small changes that can indicate the start of disease. Routine screening tests performed at the annual visit can therefore aid in early detection of disease so that interventions or treatment can be started timeously, resulting in prevention or delayed morbidity and mortality in these patients.

As pets enter their senior years, it is recommended that more frequent and more extensive examinations are performed on them.

Some seemingly healthy, older animals may have subclinical disease, which can be picked up on a good history and physical examination. By catching disease early, the owner can save money, and have a happy, healthy pet for longer.

Dr Vanessa Mcclure, veterinarian

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