Six-Month Health Checks
We tend to only go to the doctors if we are ill, but our pets cannot tell us that they feel unwell, and signs may be subtle or even absent at home. A pet with no obvious medical problems may only be checked yearly at their vaccinations. By adding a check halfway through the year, we can monitor your pet’s health, give advice about ways to keep them in great shape, and detect any early signs of disease.
What does a Six Month Health Check involve?
Most six-month health checks are with our qualified veterinary nurses, but you may see a vet depending on individual clinic staffing. The nurse, or vet, will ask you how your pet is getting on at home, and whether you have any concerns such as a change in eating or drinking habits, change to exercise routine, or unusual behaviours. They will greet your pet and assess their general behaviour and condition, often by watching them interact with their surroundings in the clinic. They will then look more closely at a few key areas:
It can be difficult to notice changes in weight at home, especially if they happen gradually. Small things like a drop in exercise can make a big difference. Your pet will be weighed on the scales, and their weight recorded, as well as having a body condition score performed. This involves feeling over the ribs and waist and helps us tell the difference between weight gain due to growth and gain due to increased body fat. If your pet is under- or over-weight, the nurse or vet will advise you on a suitable feeding and exercise plan to keep your pet healthy.
Dental disease is the most common medical condition seen in our pets and affects animals as young as three years old. In the early stages although gums are inflamed and tartar is visible on the teeth, most pets show no outward signs of the discomfort this causes. During the six-month check your pet's mouth will be examined and any dental disease identified. Home care is essential for reducing progression and the nurse or vet can help explain how to get your pet used to tooth brushing, and the best products to use.
Although we are not groomers, a six-month check is a great time to check for excess ear wax, matted hair in the coat, and overlong nails, all of which can be uncomfortable for our pets.
Regular flea and worming treatment keep your pet and your family safe from harmful parasites and is included in your The Healthy Pet Club membership. At the six-month check the nurse or vet will check your pet’s personal parasite treatment plan, making sure it includes the best products for them and the right doses, and can dispense a repeat prescription if needed.
What happens next?
Most of the time you can leave the six-month check reassured that your pet is in good health. Sometimes recommendations for diet or exercise changes are made, and a follow-up visit may be advised in a month or two. Occasionally the six-month health check may highlight a problem, in which case you will likely be referred to an appointment with a vet for further investigations.