Keeping Your Adult Pet Well

Pets today are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. By now, your pet has become a real member of your family. As concerned owners, we notice when our pet appears to be having medical problems. The role of the veterinarian to diagnose and treat your pet is obvious at those times. But the annual veterinary visit plays an equally important role in the health of the adult pet. Pets age more quickly than humans, so it is very important that they have a complete physical exam every year. Even healthy adult pets undergo changes that, if not corrected, can cause major health problems later in life.

During the adult years, the veterinarian will thoroughly evaluate the teeth and gums for periodontal disease and tartar. You will be advised about brushing your pet’s teeth and how to correct and prevent problems. These early measures can prevent tooth loss, and heart and kidney diseases that results from the spread of bacteria from the mouth into the pet’s bloodstream.

Obesity is a major health risk to your pet. If your pet is overweight, his doctor can evaluate if the condition is associated with a medical problem or due to too many calories or lack of exercise. Through balancing your pet’s diet, your veterinarian can help manage the risk of obesity, heart failure, kidney failure, and skin and digestive problems. By maintaining your pet’s correct weight with a well-balanced diet, you will prevent undue stress on the joints, and should also have an active, happy companion.

The veterinarian will listen carefully to your pet’s heart and lungs to make sure they’re normal, and to detect any changes that occur through the years. Your pet’s abdomen will be palpated- the veterinarian will feel all the organs to make sure everything is fine. The eyes and ears will be evaluated carefully. Fido can’t read an eye chart, but his doctor can tell if the eye structures are all normal and his vision is safe. The doctor will check for swollen glands, breast tumors, masses in the skin, prostate enlargement in males, and healthy skin and coat.

Internal parasites, such as intestinal worms and heartworms, and external parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are a constant threat to your pet. The science of controlling these parasites has been evolving at a rapid pace. Veterinarians can dispense the most sophisticated and safe products that are available. During the routine health visit, your veterinarian can recommend the best methods for controlling and preventing parasites.

After discussing your pet’s lifestyle with you, your veterinarian will also recommend the vaccine schedule that is bet suited for your pet. Many diseases are preventable, but each pet should only receive the vaccines that it really needs.

As your veterinarian sees your pet every year, they will get to know each other very well. Your pet’s doctor will notice subtle changes that you may not. Veterinarians keep abreast of current developments in the medical and behavioral fields, so they can give you the very latest information about keeping a happy, healthy pet. Your pet’s doctor is his friend for life.

If you need a veterinarian, please visit the Find a Veterinarian page for a list of NJVMA veterinarians in your area.