“Wellness” is a word that is very common in the human and veterinary healthcare fields. What exactly is a “wellness examination”? To use an older term, it is your dog or cat’s “annual checkup and shots”.
Wellness examinations are much more than this though. In addition to a physical examination, an individualized risk assessment of your pet's environment is performed - where you live, emerging disease risks in your community, your pet's interaction with other pets and wildlife, travel plans, and other lifestyle considerations. With this assessment, your veterinarian can determine a proper prevention program, including a vaccination schedule tailored specifically for your pet. By using individualized pet health protocols, veterinarians can pinpoint specific preventive health care needs for your pet.
Many pet owners are not aware that taking a dog or cat to the veterinarian once a year is the same as a person seeing their doctor or dentist once every seven years. Because dogs and cats age seven times faster, on average, than people, significant health changes such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease, metabolic problems and other serious conditions can occur in a short amount of time. It is recommended that pets have a wellness exam at least annually so that veterinarians have the opportunity to detect, treat or, ideally, prevent problems before they become life-threatening.
A pet owner's best source for wellness exam and preventive health care information is their personal veterinarian. Only your veterinarian knows your pet's medical history, current health status, and potential risks your pet faces.