You obviously know that your sick pet needs to see your veterinarian, but what about your healthy pet? Like people, pets benefit from routine wellness screening tests for a multitude of reasons. Our Safe Harbor Animal Hospital veterinarians are highly skilled at treating your pet for medical issues that pop up, and also detecting hidden diseases and preventing illness through regular wellness care.

When you understand the importance of wellness care for your four-legged friend, you’ll also understand why we so frequently recommend screening for each and every pet. Our team shares five reasons why scheduling routine wellness screening tests can enhance, lengthen, and possibly save your pet’s life

#1: Routine wellness screening establishes your pet’s normal values

Pets never read the book, and not only because they have no thumbs and cannot read. Oftentimes, cats and dogs present abnormally for common diseases, or their blood work values may be off the charts when they appear totally healthy. Since pets’ results don’t always fall in the average ranges, routine wellness screening establishes their personal normal values—which may not be the standard.

By performing regular wellness screening tests, we establish a baseline of your pet’s normal values over the course of their lifetime. Knowing what is normal for your pet is a critical component for accurate disease diagnosis and monitoring treatment response. 

#2: Routine wellness screening detects early disease before problems appear

Once we’ve established your pet’s normal values, we can monitor them over time and hone in on subtle changes that may indicate a hidden problem. In many cases, clinical signs do not become apparent until a disease has progressed, when treatment is more difficult and more costly, and your pet has a poorer prognosis. 

By catching disease in its earliest stages, we can immediately treat or manage the condition, minimizing damage and improving your pet’s health. For example, heartworm disease typically does not cause apparent signs for months or years after the initial infection, but permanent damage to your pet’s cardiovascular system begins the moment that an infected mosquito bites and transmits heartworm larvae.

#3: Routine wellness visits help customize your pet’s care

Through routine wellness visits, we can determine the health issues that may cause your pet future problems, and then take steps to reduce their potential development. For example, if we spot gingivitis and tartar accumulation in your 6-month-old dachshund’s mouth, we can formulate a customized oral health care plan to minimize dental disease problems down the road.

By treating each pet as an individual, we can better personalize their care to ensure they live the longest, healthiest life possible. During your pet’s wellness visits, we carefully assess their current health status, take into account their lifestyle and breed predisposition for disease, and administer preventive care and recommendations to improve their health.

#4: Routine wellness screening saves you money

While saving money may not seem part of improving your pet’s life, think of all the treats and toys the savings could buy for your pet when you can budget for their routine care. Paying up front for wellness screening tests that can detect early-stage disease is much more economical—and better for your pet—than spending a large chunk later to treat advanced illnesses. So, running diagnostic tests when your pet appears healthy may seem like a waste of money, but is  actually highly cost-effective in the long run. 

#5: Routine wellness screening can save your pet’s life

Pets, especially cats, are incredibly skilled at hiding illness. To appear strong and healthy to predators, your pet will disguise their issues until they can no longer bear the advanced problem. Arthritic dogs may not limp until they are in significant pain, while cats in chronic renal failure typically do not show clinical signs until 75% of their kidneys are permanently damaged. 

Wellness screening tests can also spot life-threatening disease early, which allows for treatment that can save your pet’s life. For example, routine X-rays performed on your senior pet may detect a tumor in their lungs or abdomen. Or, an annual heartworm test will catch the fact that you forgot to administer a single preventive dose the previous year. By detecting these problems before your pet shows clinical signs, we can administer treatment that could well save their life.

Don’t skip your four-legged friend’s wellness visit simply because they appear healthy. Looks can be deceiving, and in the case of illnesses, they can be life-threatening. Give our Safe Harbor Animal Hospital team a call to schedule your pet’s wellness visit to prevent and monitor potential health issues.