If your pet isn’t showing
any of the obvious signs of illness, it may not be clear whether you need to
book a vet appointment for them. We’ve asked Freshpet Vet, Dr. Aziza, to share
her top tips for determining when it’s really time to book a vet appointment
for your pet.
Tip #1: It’s been a year since your last
It’s highly recommended that your pets have an annual veterinary exam until they’re seven years of age. At this point, it’s recommended that these appointments increase in frequency to every six months. Even if your pet appears to be healthy, these exams are important as they focus on preventative care including vaccinations, heartworm tests, and annual blood work.
Tip #2: Chronic disease management
If your pet has been
diagnosed with a disease that requires long-term management, it most likely
will require follow-up blood work and assessment to make sure the disease is
well managed. For instance, a dog that has hypothyroidism will generally
require repeat thyroid tests every six months to make sure the daily dose of
medication is still effective. It can be helpful to book these in advance so
you stick to a regular schedule of appointments.
Tip #3: Rapid weight loss or gain
Sometimes pets will seem to
lose or gain weight in a very short period. This can often be a sign of disease
All of these diseases
require immediate veterinary attention. The sooner you see your veterinary
team, the better the prognosis so if you notice even a small unexpected change
in your pet’s weight, book a vet appointment.
Tip #4: Difficulty walking
When a pet appears to have
difficulty walking, standing, or their legs tremble, it can be a sign of an
acute injury like torn ligaments or something chronic like osteoarthritis. Both
conditions are painful and require pain medications. Depending on the nature
and severity of the injury, surgery may be recommended after further
consultation with your veterinary team.
Tip #5: Increased drinking and urination
If it seems as though your
pet is excessively drinking and urinating, then it may be a symptom of a
serious issue, like liver disease, kidney disease, or a urinary tract infection
to name a few. Thankfully, a lot of diseases can be ruled out or confirmed with
blood work and urine analysis.
Tip #6: Periodontal disease
Bad teeth can cause a host
of issues for your pet. If they have any of the following symptoms, it can
include that they’re experiencing oral pain:
- Bad breath
green, or gray teeth
- Refusal to
eat anything other than soft food
- Refusal to
play with firm-textured toys
Oral pain stems from progressive periodontal disease and for treatment, your pet needs to have their teeth cleaned and diseased teeth removed, if present. After this, your vet will recommend that you keep up regular teeth brushing at home.
Tip #7: Something is…off
Every now and then a pet
parent will notice something different about their pet that seems…not right. It
can be a difference in behavior, a new lump, or a change in color of skin or
fur, to name a few. Sometimes the pet parent’s intuition is spot on and there
is indeed something abnormal going on with their pet that needs to be treated,
so it’s never a bad idea to listen to your instincts and book that vet
We hope that Dr. Aziza has
given you some helpful tips you can use next time you’re trying to figure out
whether or not it’s time to book a vet appointment for your pet!