So for my first column, I'd like to remind readers of the importance of your pet's annual check up at vaccination time - and how you and your pet can get the most out of the consultation.
Having your pet vaccinated by a vet practice with full facilities is one way of ensuring your cat or dog is thoroughly examined at least once a year for illness or disease.
Although these annual visits of about 15 minutes may seem brief, they provide time for the vet to conduct an overall health check of your pet in addition to administering the vaccination.
During this visit the vet will fully check over your pet - from nose and ears to under your pet's tail. The vet will be looking for all sorts of problems from cancers, allergies and lameness to pre-cursers to disease.
The vet will also talk to you about other topics such as desexing, diet, heartworm control, flea control, intestinal worming, grooming methods and even micro-chipping.
During the consultation, the vet will also listen with a stethoscope to your dog or cat's chest (heart and lungs) and possibly the abdomen.
This annual visit is a good time to raise any concerns about your pet's health. To get the most out of your appointment, it's a good idea to prepare a list beforehand to help you remember everything that's cropped up since your last visit. Try to arrive before your scheduled appointment and present your list to the vet nurse so any necessary preparations can be made prior to your consultation with the vet.
To maintain your pet's medical history, it's best to visit the same vet practice each year. If for some reason you must visit another vet, be sure your pet's medical history is noted and recorded. You can do this by asking your regular vet for a copy of your pet's medical history so that the vet treating your pet is fully informed. In turn, all good vets will happily provide details of the visit for your regular vet's files.
Your pet's annual vaccination is more than just a jab - it's an important part of ensuring your best friend's long-term health and wellbeing. Be sure to visit a vet practice that does more than vaccinations and please, be sure you and your pet get the most out of the consultation.
To meet kennel association requirements, your pet should have at least the following annual vaccinations:
Dogs C5 - protects your dog from distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, bordatella and parainfluenza
Cats F3 - protects your cat from feline enteritis, calicivirus and rhinotracheitisHow to get the most out of your pet's annual vaccination visit:
- Before your pet's appointment, prepare a list of all the points you wish to raise with the vet and present it to the vet nurse upon arrival.
- Arrive five minutes before the scheduled appointment - this will give the vet nurse time to prepare any equipment that may be required based on the points you have provided.
- During the consultation, point out any lumps that you may have found on your pet.
- Develop a long-term relationship with your vet where your pet's history is recorded. If your pet is being vaccinated elsewhere, take your pet's medical history and ask at the start of the treatment for copy of the visit for your regular vet's records.
- If you cannot make a scheduled appointment let the vet practice know so the vet and vet nurse can attend to other sick animals.Things to look out for with new pets:
- Check vaccination certificates of newly acquired pets for a veterinary practice logo or address - this way you know your pet has had a full health check as part of the vaccination process.
- Don't accept a pup or kitten from someone who will forward a vaccination certificate - vets supply certificates at the time of consultation.