Every pet is unique. Age, sex, breed, lifestyle, environment, health history and condition, and a laundry list of other factors ultimately dictate what good health and wellness means to each individual pet. The veterinarians at Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital understand how important it is to provide a customized wellness plan for your animal family member. We also believe it is vitally important to provide our clients with as much information as possible so we can make an informed decision together as to the appropriate course of treatment for your pet. Often, there may be different approaches to your pet's health. If so, we will provide you with the pros and cons of each option so that you know you are making the most informed choice for your pet.
Preventive medicine is fundamental to keeping our clients' pets healthy, which is why we recommend wellness examinations every year for young, healthy pets, every 6 to 12 months for most middle-age adult pets, and every 6 months for pets 7+ years of age. Our pets age much faster than we do. Because of this progression, it is important to see your pet more often so that we can monitor the health of your pet as well as diagnose and treat any illnesses or problems early, before they become more a serious and costly medical issue.
Regular wellness examinations are one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy. These visits allow your veterinarian to identify any problems early, as well as address questions or concerns you might have. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends annual wellness examinations at a minimum and, as your pet ages, they suggest an increase in frequency of visits. Most veterinarians, including our doctors here at Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital, recommend senior pets (age 7+ years) should be seen twice a year. We believe strongly in preventive care and have developed wellness protocols, which we customize for each pet, for every stage of your pet's life.
One of the most important reasons to bring your pet in on a regular basis is to monitor and treat conditions before they become untreatable. Since pets cannot vocalize how they are feeling, illness or disease may be present before you are aware of symptoms. The benefit of early detection allows time for steps to be taken to manage or correct many problems before irreversible damage occurs. Because our pets age so much faster than we do, regular wellness exams are one of the best ways that you can help your pet live a long, healthy life.
During a wellness exam, our veterinary team will take your pet's vital signs including temperature, pulse, and body weight. Next, your veterinarian will typically ask for a complete history of your pet's health including eating habits, exercise, lifestyle, environment, unusual behavior, etc.. The history is an important tool in identifying key aspects of your pet's health. We want to make sure we have as much information as possible. Often, these discussions prompt owners to supply us with important information that they otherwise might have forgotten or neglected to mention.
Your veterinarian will examine your pet from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail. Physical examinations include listening to the heart and lungs, examining the eyes, ears, skin, and coat, and feeling the pet for internal abnormalities such as joint issues and/or lumps. The doctor will examine the health and function of other areas of your pet's body, such as the teeth, mucus membranes, reproductive organs, muscular/skeletal system, as well as the nervous and circulatory systems. This ensures we do not miss anything regarding your pet's health.
Your veterinarian may also perform diagnostic tests such as blood work, urinalysis, intestinal parasite tests, EKG/ECG, blood pressure evaluation, x-rays, and ultrasound, depending on your pet's unique health condition and age. Vaccinations may be administered, depending on your pet's life stage and unique needs. There are many safe, effective vaccines available to protect your pet against the threat of disease. Effective vaccination plans are sure to be individualized for your pet. By assessing your pet's needs, we can help you decide which vaccines and immunizations will be most beneficial to your pet's healthy lifestyle.
Keep your pets free of intestinal parasites, heartworms, fleas, ticks, and other creepy crawlies. Routine parasite and disease screenings (i.e. Heartworm, kidney, liver, blood disorders, etc.) may be recommended. Parasite prevention products may be suggested.
You are what you eat and your pet is no different. Your veterinarian will help you determine your pet's nutritional needs and figure out the diet that is best suited to him or her.
Finally, your veterinarian will help to determine what your pet requires and will suggest an examination schedule and health care plan based on your pet's unique needs.
Wellness exams are a simple and effective way of monitoring your pet's health. Early detection and correction of medical problems will help ensure that your pet will live a long, healthy, active life.
One of the most important aspects of preventive medicine is the use of blood screens to detect the early signs of a number of disease processes. Ahwatukee Animal Care hospital recommends that all pets receive yearly lab work at their wellness visits, and some older pets and/or pets with medical conditions may require more frequent lab tests.
These blood screens are crucial in the early detection of disease processes and act as a window into the body, allowing us to see things such as organ function, red and white blood cell counts, and electrolyte balance. When lab testing is performed consistently from year to year, we are able to establish a baseline of normal parameters for your pet and are better able to track minute changes in functions of your pet's body.
Just as with humans, regular check-ups are important to prevent dental infections, abscesses, loose or missing teeth, and even damage to major organs due to bacterial infection. Routine at-home care and regular (annual) professional dental cleanings can help solve these problems before they occur.
Wellness Care for Small Mammals, Pocket Pets, Exotics, and Birds
In addition to our comprehensive wellness services for dogs and cats, Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital also provides basic wellness care for small mammals and pocket pets, such as rabbits, hamsters, sugar gliders, gerbils, rats, and chinchillas; ferrets; exotic pets, such as reptiles and amphibians; and birds. Routine examinations are just as important for these types of animals as they are for canine and feline family members. The varied lifespan and rapidly changing physiology of such unique pets makes routine wellness checks a necessary part of lifelong care.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about taking care of your animal friend.
To learn more about wellness care, please visit the following links:
Exotics, Small Mammals, Pocket Pets and Avian Medicine
Senior Care and Geriatric Medicine
Puppy and Kitten Care