The arrival of Spring-like weather means it’s time for our annual vet exams. Annual vet exams are one of the best ways to help keep your pets healthy.
Our annual exams roll around in Spring because we do the dogs’ heart worm checks at that time. The vet takes a blood sample and does a physical exam. In addition, we check a stool sample for parasites and go over any immunizations which are due. We also discuss flea and tick control for the upcoming season.
Since we have two senior dogs, we do full blood work when we do the heart worm check. Blood work can show if there are any issues with kidney or liver function. It can also show if there are any thyroid issues among other things. If the blood work shows a problem was can address it, hopefully before it progresses. As I said, we do blood work once a year. Some people do blood work for their senior pets every six months, but we would only do that if we see an issue.
Here is the run down on each of our pets’ annual vet exams:
Thunder will be 11 this month. His blood work was normal (hooray!). Heart worm check and fecal negative. We have been watching one of his canine’s which he injured last year, but it has not changed so we will leave that alone. He received immunizations for Leptospirosis and Bordetella.
We give our dogs those two immunizations each year based on their lifestyles. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which can contracted by coming into contact with water which has been contaminated by the urine of infected wildlife. Our dogs are hunting dogs and are often in the field so they may come into contact with this bacteria. Similarly, they spend a lot of time around other dogs so we give the bordetella immunization. Bordetalla is a respiratory disease which can be contracted from other dogs.
We purchased Thunder’s heart worm medication for the year. We decided to start the dogs on heart worm March 1 due to the mild weather this year and keep them on it year round. We had been giving heart worm April through December in past years. We also purchased a supply of Frontline for flea and tick control. The mild winter probably means a bad flea and tick season so we anticipate starting that April 1.
Thunder seems very healthy for his age. His weight was good this year at 98 pounds. He His absolute perfect weight is 95 so we will see if we can get that extra weight off with some exercise.
Storm will be 10 in June. She really hates going to the vet. She barks at absolutely everyone who comes in the door or even looks at her. We took her for her and Thunder together for their annual vet exams on a Sunday. Yes our vet has walk-in hours on Sunday. We hoped to see Storm’s favorite vet but unfortunately she was dealing with two emergencies so was not on the floor. We actually got the owner of the practice. Storm was fidgety but she allowed her blood to be drawn and the vet to give her an immunization.
Storm was not due for any immunizations except bordetella so that was all she got. She gets her leptospirosis in September when I think she will also have rabies due. Her blood work was normal. Fecal and heart worm were negative. Her teeth were good. She could loose a few pounds so that is something to work on. We purchased her heart worm preventative and flea and tick control and she was done–much to her relief.
Freighter is 5. His weight was perfect at 84 pounds. He is a healthy dog but he needs a dental cleaning. His front teeth are all good but his molars need cleaning. I admit that I do not brush his teeth. He is not a dog that likes to be futzed with so I don’t do it. He received leptospirosis and bordetella immunizations. His fecal and heart worm checks were negative. We purchased his heart worm and flea and tick preventatives. He will have the dental in April.
Nestle the Cat
Last but not least, Nestle. Nestle is 11 years old. There is something going on with Nestle but the vet has not been able to diagnose anything. Her symptoms are not concrete except she is losing weight. She has lost another ½ pound since I had her to the vet in September. She is not a large cat and does not have weight to spare.
In addition to weight loss she is has some behavioral changes which include not always using her litter box, begging for food constantly, eating a ton, and she is always cold. In fact she has taken to sleeping on the dogs. Not with the dogs, but on the dogs as you can see.
He blood work is normal. I have had blood work done three times over the past year and it has been perfectly normal each time. I also had the vet do an xray but that was inconclusive. The vet said her heart is unusually small but we do not know why. It was probably always that way. Her intestines were not clearly visible, which could mean there is fluid in her abdomen (which the vet did not think), or it could be because she has low blood pressure (which was checked this last visit).
The vet referred Nestle to an internist and we held off on any immunizations for her. The vet and I both agree that something is going on, but what? We are hopeful a specialist might be able to find what it is. Unfortunately I could not get an appointment until April, but I have the option of going to the ER and getting in that way if necessary.
Our Annual Vet Exams ~ Keeping Our Pets Healthy
Annual vet exams are an expense for sure, but it is a necessary expense to keep our pets healthy or in Nestle’s case get some direction and hopefully a diagnosis.