When your pet seems healthy, it’s easy to think that preventive care visits can be skipped. After all, what’s the vet really going to do, right? Your pet is going to be looked at, cooed over (because we really can’t help ourselves — we love them all) and we’re going to give you a clean bill of health and tell you to come back and see us for the next visit. Except ? what if we don’t?
Preventive care exams are the best tool we have to help catch and treat diseases early, before they become big issues. You see your pet every day, and small changes are easy to miss. When we perform a preventive care exam, not only are we looking at your pet with fresh eyes, we “leave no stone unturned” and check your pet over from nose to tail to ensure there aren’t any issues hiding under his fur. Our pets use skills they developed over years of evolution to ward off predators to “trick” us into thinking they are healthy when they’re not, which doesn’t bode well for either of you and doesn’t encourage you to get your pet the care he needs when he needs it. Preventive care exams are designed to specifically look for signs of illness that your pet is trying to hide (and may have been successful at hiding until the exam).
Pets age faster than we do, and since their aging process is accelerated, so is everything else, including disease progression. That means small problems can become big problems in a hurry, and the window for catching them when they are at their earliest and most treatable stage is contracted. Maintaining a regular preventive exam schedule allows us to be familiar with your pet and to quickly recognize when something is “off.” They give us the opportunity to catch and treat the small problems so we protect your pet’s health and your pocketbook. Catching issues early also protects your time with your pet and prevents you from being forced into some of the most difficult decisions we have to ask of clients: whether to proceed with costly and risky treatment or let your pet go. Those times are some of the hardest of our job, especially when we’re aware that if a regular preventive care exam schedule had been maintained, there’s a good chance the outcome would have been different.
It’s important to realize that many of these preventable issues take a much bigger bite out of your pocketbook if they aren’t caught until your pet just can’t hide the symptoms anymore. The differences can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the ailment. Something as simple as internal parasites can be prevented, on average, for less than $50, but treatment averages in the $200 range while there is an even bigger discrepancy between the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases such as parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia. Vaccinating against these will cost an average of around $100 while treatment will average in the neighborhood of $700. And when you factor in the pain and suffering of your pet and your concern and worry over his health, the nonmaterial costs of neglecting preventive care really stack up.
If your pet is due for a preventive care exam, or if you’ve slipped past the point your pet should have been seen and need to get your favorite furry back on track, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. It is our goal to help you keep your pet in the best of health as long as possible!