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Dr. Aziza's Tips on How To Know When it's Really Time to Book a Vet Appointment

28 Jun 2022 | Written by Freshpet

If your pet isn’t showing any of the obvious signs of illness, it may not be clear whether you need to book a vet appointment for them. We’ve asked Freshpet Vet, Dr. Aziza, to share her top tips for determining when it’s really time to book a vet appointment for your pet.

Tip #1: It’s been a year since your last appointment

It’s highly recommended that your pets have an annual veterinary exam until they’re seven years of age. At this point, it’s recommended that these appointments increase in frequency to every six months. Even if your pet appears to be healthy, these exams are important as they focus on preventative care including vaccinations, heartworm tests, and annual blood work.

Tip #2: Chronic disease management

If your pet has been diagnosed with a disease that requires long-term management, it most likely will require follow-up blood work and assessment to make sure the disease is well managed. For instance, a dog that has hypothyroidism will generally require repeat thyroid tests every six months to make sure the daily dose of medication is still effective. It can be helpful to book these in advance so you stick to a regular schedule of appointments.

Tip #3: Rapid weight loss or gain

Sometimes pets will seem to lose or gain weight in a very short period. This can often be a sign of disease such as:

All of these diseases require immediate veterinary attention. The sooner you see your veterinary team, the better the prognosis so if you notice even a small unexpected change in your pet’s weight, book a vet appointment.

Tip #4: Difficulty walking

When a pet appears to have difficulty walking, standing, or their legs tremble, it can be a sign of an acute injury like torn ligaments or something chronic like osteoarthritis. Both conditions are painful and require pain medications. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, surgery may be recommended after further consultation with your veterinary team.

Tip #5: Increased drinking and urination

If it seems as though your pet is excessively drinking and urinating, then it may be a symptom of a serious issue, like liver disease, kidney disease, or a urinary tract infection to name a few. Thankfully, a lot of diseases can be ruled out or confirmed with blood work and urine analysis.

Tip #6: Periodontal disease

Bad teeth can cause a host of issues for your pet. If they have any of the following symptoms, it can include that they’re experiencing oral pain:

Oral pain stems from progressive periodontal disease and for treatment, your pet needs to have their teeth cleaned and diseased teeth removed, if present. After this, your vet will recommend that you keep up regular teeth brushing at home.

Tip #7: Something is…off

Every now and then a pet parent will notice something different about their pet that seems…not right. It can be a difference in behavior, a new lump, or a change in color of skin or fur, to name a few. Sometimes the pet parent’s intuition is spot on and there is indeed something abnormal going on with their pet that needs to be treated, so it’s never a bad idea to listen to your instincts and book that vet appointment.

We hope that Dr. Aziza has given you some helpful tips you can use next time you’re trying to figure out whether or not it’s time to book a vet appointment for your pet!

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