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Focusing on Pet Wellness

Focusing on Pet Wellness

We
all understand the importance of having routine check-ups for our children and
families, but what about our pets? Pets age faster than we do, which makes regular
visits to the veterinarian even more important. Pets can have health issues and
these routine appointments can help prevent or make an early diagnosis of
problems.

October was National Pet Wellness Month and reminded pet owners of the importance of
regular vet visits.  National Pet
Wellness Month is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Zoetis (formally Pfizer Animal Health) and recommends taking your pets to the vet for routine check-ups
and preventive care “twice a year for life.”

The
Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) recognizes the importance
of this routine veterinary care. The community
practice
division is a full service wellness care
clinic designed to provide preventive care and basic sick appointments for pets
of the general public.

“It is important to take your pet to the
veterinarian at least once a year. A yearly physical exam may
help catch health problems before they become severe and difficult to treat.
After age seven, dogs and cats are considered geriatric and may be susceptible
to age related health problems.  At this point in their lives, pets should
go to their veterinarian twice as often,” says Dr. Luci Dimick,
assistant professor in Veterinary Clinical Sciences.

Dr. Dimick explains that during a routine
exam doctors auscult the heart, listening for murmurs or arrhythmias; palpate
the abdomen, feeling for unusual lumps and for changes in
the size of abdominal organs.  Also, a complete exam includes an oral
exam, looking for signs of infection in the gums or fractured teeth, as well as
examining the pet's eyes and ears. Geriatric dogs and cats may
be silent sufferers from arthritis, so a semi annual visit is
also important to find joint pain in the hips, elbows, neck and
spine.  It is important for the owner to realize that many of
these conditions can be treated and the early detection can aid
therapy.  During the exam, a veterinarian will determine if any of the
pet's vaccinations need to be updated and perform routine heartworm testing and
fecal testing.

The benefit to bringing your pet to Ohio State for
their routine veterinary care is that if your pet needs to see a specialist no
referral is necessary. The VMC has more than 42 different specialty services.
Often, pets can even be seen by certain specialists the same day as their
routine appointment, saving an extra trip and unneeded stress on your pet. The
benefit doesn’t stop there. Bringing your pet to one veterinary office that can
diagnose a multitude of health problems allows the pet to be more comfortable
and allows the staff to know your pet’s complete medical history. This allows
the VMC to manage
patients over the course of their entire lives.

The
VMC also focuses on low stress handling and restraint methods to make your pet’s
visit as pleasant as possible. One of the major goals in the community practice
clinic is emphasizing the importance of decreasing patient stress during
routine veterinary care. The VMC even offers “happy visits” free of charge for
their clients and patients. The concept of the happy visits is to condition
pets to enjoy going to the vet by having visits that are full of positive
experiences. This allows pets to be comfortable when they come to actual
veterinary appoints, which leads to more efficient and timely care.

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