Dog health - Why your dog needs an annual checkup
A once a year visit to the vet is a must for a healthy dog. During this annual visit your vet will check your dog's heart rate, overall body health, perform a fecal and blood check to diagnose parasites, and keep your dog up to date on vaccinations. A simple annual visit to the vet may not seem like a very important aspect to your dog's health, but it is.
Early diagnosis of diseases like cancer, early detection of any abnormalities like heart murmurs, and vaccines which prevent fatal diseases will all help your dog to live a longer life. Many cancers today, which dogs suffer from, are now treatable if they are diagnosed early, and dogs with heart problems can take medication to help their heart function well for many years. The key is 'early diagnosis', and without an annual veterinarian examination a life threatening illness could be missed until it is too late to treat.
An annual veterinarian check-up will also help your veterinarian to identify any illnesses in your dog such as ear infections, eye infections, parasitic infections, bladder infections, or teeth problems. Missed infections can cause wear and tear on a dog's body, and if they progress serious damage to the body can occur. While these conditions are not always life threatening, they can stress the overall health of your dog and overtime harm your dog's health, immune system, and organ function. Continual stress from constant infections, or severe infections that are not treated, can reduce the longevity of a dog's life.
As comprehensive as you choose
A visit to the veterinarian can be as comprehensive as you want it to be. You can have the choice of just a short physical and vaccines, or you can have all the necessary tests performed to check the status of your dog's health. In order for your dog to remain healthy, it is highly recommended that you have a comprehensive physical performed each year in addition to blood, fecal, and urine tests.
Don't forget parasite control
Deaths caused by parasites are probably one of the most preventable causes of death in dogs. A high parasite load of worms and fleas can lead to malnutrition, reduced immune function, anemia, and poor health; the damage that these parasites can cause may reduce the longevity of a dog's lifespan overtime. In addition, parasites such as ticks and mosquitoes can transmit deadly diseases. The parasites that you will need to protect your dog from include: ticks, fleas, worms, and mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes and Heartworms
Many pet owners do not realize that mosquitoes can infect dogs with deadly heartworms. When a mosquito bites a dog that carries heartworms the mosquito can then transmit those worms to another dog. More and more heartworm infections are a leading cause of early death in dogs throughout the states.
Heartworm disease can be treated in dogs, but the treatments are not without risks; some dogs have deadly reactions to heartworm treatment. In addition, a heartworm infection that has continued for a long period of time may have caused too much damage to the dog's health to treat. To protect your dog from the dangers of heartworms, always have a yearly test performed on your dog and keep your dog on a strict heartworm preventative regimen.
While tick diseases in some areas are rare, dogs that are exposed to ticks are still in danger of becoming infected with potentially lethal tick diseases. If you are in an area where your dog will be exposed to ticks, or you live in an area that has reported tick disease occurrences in dogs and people, it is essential that you keep ticks off of your dogs. There are products on the market today that will help to repel ticks from your dog, or that will kill the ticks once the ticks latch on to your dog's skin.