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This is a "big read", we hope it helps you understand the importance and complexity of a regular wellness check.
For those who are not going to read the whole article the main message is
early detection is best !

We are all aware of the term "wellness" when it comes to our own health.
The idea is to look after ourselves so that we remain healthy, active and happy for as long a possible.

For humans these include particular health checks for men and for women as well as immunisation against common diseases, including the flu, and regular skin checks for any changes.

As we age some organs may need closer monitoring and sometimes treatment.

Ageing animals can develop age related issues just like humans

Here are just some of the ABC's of wellness monitoring.

Arthritis is common in both older dogs and cats. a good managment strategy can keep pets moving comfortably in old age

Bad Breath: dental disease can occur in animals (and people) of all ages. What makes a big difference is to manage bad teeth early thereby preventing gum disease and premature loss of teeth. Dental disease can be as life threatening as a cancer as the bacteria from the mouth travels around the body. Kidney, liver, lungs and heart are all easily affected.

Cushings (hyperadrenocorticism) is a common hormonal disease in older smaller breed dogs. Untreated it can lead to diabetes and premature death. A simple blood test along a history taken by the veterinarian can screen for Cushings.

Diabetes: Yes, dogs and cats both get diabetes. This is one of the reasons why we ask you to bring a sample of your pets urine each year. Diabetes can be well managed and in cats they can even go into remission.

Ear infections are not so common in cats but many dogs have problems. If we can't pinpont the actual cause (such as allergy to some foods) then we strive to manage the condition so your pet isn't constantly suffering. This may take a few visits but it's well worth it for long term comfort.

Food related conditions: Animals that are constantly vomiting or have loose stools, or who may have chronic skin conditions may have food related disease. Early intervention by the vet can save a lot of distress for the animal, again we look for long term solutions.

Gastroenteritis has many causes, not just eating the wrong thing but also due to less common infections such as coccidia and giardia. If not quickly self limiting or if vomiting doesn't stop then a visit to the vet is definitely a good idea.

Heart disease is relatively common in some dog breeds, and can occur at a young age. Both dogs and cats can get heart disease. In cats it's harder to detect because it less likely anyone will notice if the cat is less active. It's very important that both dog and cats, especially as they age, have regular heart checks. The vet can often detect a problem just with a stethoscope, at that point monitoring may be all that's require or further tests and treatment may be necessary. Early detection and management results in a longer life.

Kidney disease is especially common in older cats. Luckily these days there are ways of detecting changes early and sometimes simply modifying the cat's diet can make a huge difference to health and life span.

Skin conditions: We are all aware of skin allergies and these days with better flea control products skin management has improved. We also understand the role of diet better as well as having safter drugs to use for allergic skin disease.
If a dog or cat develop skin changes or lumps on or under the skin a visit to the vet is better earlier rather than later. Put simply if a cancer needs removal it's better to do it before it has a chance to spread, it takes less time (and so costs less money) and once the owner knows what it is then, quite often, they can stop worrying.

Thyroid. In cats we usually see an overactive thyroid while in dog they can develop an underactive thyroid although of course the opposites are possible. Coat changes, weight and behaviour changes can all occur due to thyroid issues. Again early detection is best for all concerned.

So when you bring your pet for a check up at the vet, he or she is being assessed for these and many more possible conditions. Your vet is always taking into account species, breed, age and life circumstances   

Just like us, it's important that your animal's regular veterinarian monitors your pet's health. As your pet ages it becomes even more critical to detect any conditions which may develop. Early detection and intervention can be life saving.

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