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How Often Does My Pet Need to See the Veterinarian?

Dr. Star Gregory explains how often your dog or cat needs a physical exam.

How often do you take your pet to the see the veterinarian? How often should you take your pet to see the veterinarian? Unfortunately, the answers to these two questions are frequently not the same. Cats and dogs need to visit their veterinarian every six months, that’s twice a year.

Many pet owners believe that once a year is a sufficient frequency between veterinary visits and it is not. Having your cat or dog see a veterinarian just once a year is the same as you seeing your doctor every seven years! Our pets age faster than we do so we cannot apply the same protocols to them. A lot can change in 12 months. What many people do not know is that a physical exam is one of the most important things you can do to help your pet live a long healthy life.

I believe one problem that is preventing pets from seeing their veterinarians twice a year lies in vaccines. For one thing, in response to the issues of over-vaccination, many veterinarians have adopted extended vaccination protocols that may warrant a pet to go three years between vaccines. This is fine, but many people only take their pets to the vet when their vaccines are due. If they are going three years between vaccines and consequently veterinary visits, that is the equivalent of you only seeing your doctor every 21 years!

Another problem as far as vaccines are concerned is the number of low-cost vaccine clinics now available. Most of these clinics do not conduct a physical exam on your pet. Pet owners think that because their pet has been vaccinated, the need to see the veterinarian has been eliminated. This is not true. I cannot criticize low-cost clinics because I offer my services to a few low-cost clinics, but I would hope that they would enable the pet owner to save some money, so they are able to pay for the necessary twice a year physical exams their pets need.

And please note, that the twice a year exam applies to healthy pets. If your pet has an illness, he or she may need to see the veterinarian more often for monitoring/treatments.

So please do not do your pet a disservice by only allowing her to see a veterinarian when her vaccines are due. And remember, if your pet hates visiting the vet clinic, there is a vet in Lilburn that will come to you! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

C Puckett November 09, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Be very careful about having your cat vaccinated. I lost one of mine to VAS - vaccine associated sarcoma - from the rabies vaccine. If you do have your cat vacinated make sure that it is not the 3 year version and is pure-vax. There are a lot of pet owners out there that along with me have lost their fur babies to this horrible cancer.
Star Gregory November 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Yes. The pure-vax vaccines do not contain the additives that are associated with the sarcomas. Just be prepared to pay a bit more for the vaccine.

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