Every couple years we go to the doctor for check ups, vaccinations, testing and more. Thankfully, in Ontario, majority of our healthcare is covered; including doctors visits.
Our pets require the same care as we do. Just they need it more often than we do as they age quicker and can develop illnesses between appointments and they can't tell you. Our pets are stoic and this means we usually don't see the symptoms until it has progressed. With regular vet care, we can keep our pets safe.
First vet visits are extremely important, especially if you are a first time pet owner. The most important part about the visit is picking the right vet. I understand between the shortage of vets and increase of pet ownership over the pandemic it could be harder to find the perfect vet. Yet, it is essential. The right vet can make or break your future appointments and your pet's feelings towards the vet in the future.
Another importance of the first visit is to get updated knowledge on your pets care. Whether you have owned a pet before or your a first time pet parent, our understanding of animal sciences is continually growing and changing. So learning about updated dental care, dietary and nutritional needs, what potential illnesses they may be prone to and what to look for, and so much more. They will also provide their first (or second or whatever is needed for their age) vaccinations. If they are puppies, they will go through three sets of shots spread out over 12 weeks (beginning at 8 weeks). The diseases that these shots prevent against are very harmful and deadly to dogs, puppies even more so. So getting vaccinated on schedule will help keep your pet healthy, safe, and living a long and happy life. The best part too, is you will be able to prevent expensive procedures in the future if you start the proper care recommended by the vet at a young age.
During your visits, even when your pets are young, a blood test done every couple of years would be beneficial. The reason it is important to do bloodwork when your pet is young is because it sets a proper baseline for your pet. Yes, there are values that are recognized as abnormal, and when you have a baseline, you can determine the differences in organ function, blood pressure, endocrine function and more before they become a problem. This allows you to begin preventative treatment vs maintanence treatment.
Fixing your pet is vital for not only keeping the pet population under control, it also helps prevent life threatening illnesses and diseases that are also costly.
Spaying not only keeps pregnancies at bay, it is also a preventative measure for many health issues. If you choose to not spay your pet and she ends up being over bred (more than twice in her lifetime), than she can and will develop tumours which can be cancerous. There is risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and more. On the flip side, not breeding her and keeping her intact can cause a life threatening bacterial infection called pyometritis. When a female animal goes through heat, they typically do not shed their uterine lining as efficiently as we do. Long story short, we have the advantage of gravity. This means that bacteria in the uterus will collect within the unshed lining and cause an infection. This infection will cause enlargement of the uterus and occasionally the surrounding organs. An emergency hysterectomy is the only way to save their life. Otherwise they will pass from a very slow and painful death of septicaemia.
Intact males can also develop different medical issues as well. When they're young, there is a chance of your male being a cryptorchid. This means that one or both of the testicles won't drop. This means that the testicle that is inside the body is more prone to cancer and causing long term health effects. Even if they both drop, there is a chance that cancer can still develop as they still have the parts. So removing it reduces the chances of cancers immensely.
For both, it can be frustrating to be intact. This is especially true if they are not being bred. Imagine, having all these hormones running through your body and there are two responses that they have to alleviate the frustration these hormones can cause. They can either procreate and release it in a way that is natural and keeps their moods even. Or, they can become destructive, reactive, and intense. So it is beneficial mentally to fix your pet.
As your pet ages, it is even more important to do semi annual vet visits. You want to catch anything before it happens and this will allow your vet to monitor weight changes, habit changes, and other small things you may not notice because you're with your pet daily. This also allows for bloodwork to be done to test the function of their body internally. They can also recommend what changes in yours and your pet's life that need to happen to make your pet live their best and longest life.
Just as you want to prevent illnesses, diseases and keep yourself healthy and happy for as long as you can; your pet wants that from you too. So visiting your vet will help keep them healthy for as long as they can. Take the time today to build (or rebuild) your relationship with your vet. The time you get back will make it worth it.