Importance of regular Health Checks for your dog
What do we mean by health checks?
It is often said that prevention is better than cure. None of us want to see our furry family members unwell.
Effective preventative health care and early detection of illness are essential to keep then happy and healthy.
Regular health checks provide the perfect opportunity for your pet to be protected against health risks and assessed for any signs of disease.
Dogs hide things
Dogs hide signs of distress. However, it isn’t uncommon for a dog to continue greeting you joyfully when they are under the weather.
Being familiar with your pets’ normal demeanour, lifestyle and parameters allows you to manage risk and medical conditions much more effectively.
Preventative health care is most effective when designed specifically for your pet.
Regular physical examinations by a vet or nurse can pick up subtle signs of discomfort or illness.
A clinical examination assesses general health with a full nose to tail MOT.
Here I list some examples of potential problems that can be detected and things we must pay attention to. This helps stop things getting any worse and leading to further health problems.
A third of dogs in the UK are overweight.
Obesity leads to joint problems, heart disease and diabetes. We can help advise you on the best diet for your pet and discuss weight management.
Some active animals are underweight and conceal underlying treatable health conditions.
For example, some collie breeds are susceptible to Vitamin B deficiency because of intestinal absorption problems. Coupled with high activity levels this can lead to weight loss.
A subtle change in your dog or cat can be caused by pain or ill health, such as an underactive or overactive thyroid gland.
We might easily think our pet is slowing down as they age and therefore miss signs of an illness.
Investigations prompted by an examination may reveal readily treatable conditions and return your pet to full health.
Some dogs are very resistant to having their teeth cleaned or examined at home.
Unfortunately, dental disease is common.
Detecting early signs of tooth decay or infection allows timely treatment avoiding dental pain.
Dental disease can exacerbate heart and kidney disease if untreated.
Skin and Ears
Scurf, dry skin and pimples can be early signs of skin disease.
Prompt parasite treatment can prevent more serious disease.
Ear infections may not be evident until they are serious, so regular ear checks are essential.
Red skin, excess wax and inflammation can herald the beginning of an infection.
Small skin masses are often found on clinical examination.
These can easily escape detection if they are covered by hair or in inaccessible areas. Masses can also be detected in the abdomen on examination, as the vet will palpate the abdominal organs.
In all cases, treatment is likely to be more effective if undertaken earlier.
A small mass is more easily removed surgically. Alternatively, a mass can be sampled to diagnose the cause and direct treatment or give you peace of mind.
Older dogs and those with underlying health problems can suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension).
This condition can cause organ damage and make them feel very unwell.
Blood pressure measurement is a simple, non-invasive test that will aid effective management.
Arthritis is a common condition in dogs. Early diagnosis of joint disease is essential as the pet’s environment can be altered to reduce pain.
Ramps can be used to avoid jumping, floor coverings reduce slipping and appropriate beds minimise discomfort.
Supplements and medicines can be used to reduce inflammation and improve joint health.
Dogs manage very well with gradual sight loss, so cataract formation and other causes for blindness may be easily missed.
Animals can also develop painful conditions such as glaucoma and uveitis (inflammation inside the eye).
Having their eyes checked regularly can ensure non-painful and effective vision.
A large recent study (the EPIC trial) showed that treating heart disease before signs of failure appear means that dogs live longer (on average 2 years).
So, regular auscultation (listening to sounds) of the heart is important to detect early disease.
Regular health checks mean that long term medical conditions can be managed optimally. This avoids complications, inappropriate medication and improves the prognosis.
Here at Rose Cottage
We want to help you keep your dog in fantastic health. Now, although we are not vets. If we come across anything we think is wrong, we will speak to you and also we would be happy to get our travelling vet to come and check out your dog. With your say so, of course!
Please talk to us, if you are worried about anything. And I mean anything.
If you want to treat your dog, there are sooo many safe ways you can. Healthy dog treats are available from us and we would love to help you look after your dog and keep them safe. But spoilt all at the same time!
Until next time…
Join me again for top tips and information on your dogs health. Look after your fur babies.
Dawn, Lilly and Tucker 🐾