Preventive care is the foundation of good health. However, it's also easy for pet owners to dismiss preventive care as an unnecessary expense. Most people aren’t looking for one more errand to run, but that annual wellness exam is well worth the time and money.

Dogs and cats age faster than humans—for example, for an adult dog, each "human year" is approximately 4-5 "dog years." That means that a lot can change in a year! Wellness exams and other forms of preventive care make sure your pet stays healthy. 

Prevention can save you money

Regular wellness visits, vaccinations, dental care, and other routine appointments mean you can catch any problem early. For most diseases, treatment is cheaper and easier when caught early, so catching a disease before symptoms show can save money down the road.

“This is especially true for dental care," said Mark Freeman, clinical associate professor of community practice at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “A routine dental cleaning is far less invasive and expensive than a dental that is years overdue, which often involves extracting diseased teeth and significantly greater expense.”

A routine blood or urine test could identify a disease in its early stages, giving you and your veterinarian the opportunity to intercede years before the disease has progressed to the point of costly hospitalization.

Pet illness isn’t always obvious 

Pets don’t always let on when they’re feeling sick. Cats are especially well-known for hiding illness. 

Why do pets hide their illness? The leading theory is that our furry friends hide their pain because in the wild, signs of pain or illness could make them a target for predators. 

It’s not always obvious when your pet isn’t feeling well, but in an exam, your veterinarian can better identify any health problems your pet experiences.

Another advantage of bringing your pet in for regular checkups is that your veterinarian can record their baseline values. If one of those values (weight, for example) shows a remarkable change, it could be a sign of a bigger health problem.  

Stay up to date

Vaccinations are an important part of preventive medicine. By keeping up to date on veterinarian-recommended vaccines, you can stop disease in its tracks. 

Vaccines contain either partial or weakened versions of viruses and/or bacteria. In response to those antigens, your pet’s immune system creates antibodies. Those antibodies allow your pet’s body to fight off the virus or bacteria if it is exposed to it again. However, over time, the effect of some vaccines grows weaker — that's why booster shots are necessary. 

Prevention is key 

Do you have your pet’s next wellness exam scheduled? Remember, preventive care catches disease early, making your pet healthier and your wallet fuller.


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