How Often Does Your Pet Need to be Examined?
This is a very good and common question often asked by pet owners.
Having your pet examined by a veterinarian on a recommended, regular schedule is by far the single most important measure you can take to ensure a long, healthy and happy life for your pet. It’s easiest to break this down into the 3 main age/life-phases of your pet: puppy/kitten, adult and senior pets. Keep in mind, these are general recommendations, and an individual pet may require a different examination frequency, so it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian and follow their recommendations for your dog or cat.
For puppies and kittens it’s several times in the first year, since they require a series of vaccinations, which includes a complete physical examination for your pet at each visit. Once the series of vaccinations is complete, they would receive another examination when they are spayed and neutered. Following that, most pets will not need another routine examination until they are due for their annual examination and booster vaccination(which should be done approximately 1 year after their final puppy/kitten booster).
For most adult dogs and cats, a once a year examination is generally adequate. An important point here is that even if your pet does not receive an “annual vaccination”, they should still have an examination, every year.
For senior pets, first we need to consider, what age is my pet considered senior? For most dogs, 7 years of age is considered “senior”. For small dogs and cats, senior is 9 years of age and for giant breeds of dogs, senior is actually at 5 years of age. Senior pets should be examined at least twice a year (every 6 months). Having a senior pet examined only once a year is similar to a senior person going to the doctor every 6 or 7 years, which is risky and too long an interval to wait. This way, if something develops throughout the year(a lump, bump, heart murmer, weight loss/gain etc.), it can be addressed and corrected successfully, before it has a chance to become serious or dangerous to your pets’ health.
Don’t be shy, ask your veterinary health care team, “how often does my pet need to be examined”?
Keep them happy and healthy for a long, long time!
Yours in Pet Wellness,
Dr. Gary Arzem, Newmarket Veterinarian
About Dr. Arzem and North Yonge Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Gary Arzem received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario in 1989. He is a founder and head veterinarian at North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Having practiced veterinary medicine for more than 28 years, his skills and special interests include surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and radiography), dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology and public health as it relates to pets and their owners. He is a founder of The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region in Newmarket. Dr. Arzem is recognized as an educational leader in the community and is involved with The Ontario Veterinary College, York Region District School Board, Simcoe County Board of Education, and both Seneca and Sheridan College’s Co-Operative Education Programs. Dr. Arzem also participates in several continuing education conferences, including The North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and he is actively involved in fundraising for a number of charitable organizations, such as The Pet Trust Fund, The Farley Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Cancer Society. He has also appeared on City T.V.’s Animal House Calls and Rogers Your Pet Your Vet television shows and has written several articles for Newmarket’s Snapd Newspapers.