Our Blog

April 2018
18: Congratulations friends of dogs and cats everywhere!
March 2018
28: Good Friday 2018
February 2018
28: Parasite Prevention
15: Family Day 2018
January 2018
11: Dental disease is a real and serious issue
December 2017
05: Holiday Closures 2017
November 2017
01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
October 2017
03: Prizes and pie for our annual Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
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13: Keetah's Story
11: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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27: Clicker Training
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13: The threat of rabies in southwestern Ontario
07: Wildlife in the city
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21: Lyme Disease
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06: The Value Of Education
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17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
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28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
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20: Cajun's story
01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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29: Dog Park Etiquette
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31: Heartworm Q & A
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10: Anticipated tick bloom
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22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
January 2016
14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
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09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
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23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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28: Exciting news for our hospital!
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11: Mosquito Prevention
May 2015
08: Heartworm cases
April 2015
24: Changing your pet's food
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01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
January 2015
13: January and February are Dental Education Months!
December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
September 2014
22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
March 2014
20: Happy Smiles
January 2014
22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
July 2013
11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
June 2013
20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
12: Pet Education Day and Open House a Huge Success!
May 2013
25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
April 2013
29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
March 2013
10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health

Posted: 2012-04-21

Our pets age at a rate much faster ours, with one human year often being the equivalent of seven or more ‘pet ‘ years for our dogs and cats. To keep your companion healthy, we recommend you take them to your veterinarian at least once per year for a routine examination, often dubbed a wellness exam.

Since animals age at a much faster rate than humans, this could be equivalent to a physical examination by your family physician every four to eight years, which most human doctors would frown upon! It is for this reason that middle-aged to senior pets may benefit from physical examinations, or wellness examinations, twice a year. Puppies or kittens should receive at least three examinations in their first year of life. These crucial examinations through their rapid development can help detect abnormalities with their growth, behaviour, dentition (such as extra or missing teeth, that can have deleterious effects on their oral health), eyes, and much more.

Come prepared with answers for the following questions, which will give clues as to your animal’s health and wellbeing, and aid in formulating a vaccine and prevention protocol specific to your pets lifestyle:

  1. Does your pet go outdoors unsupervised?
  2. Is there wildlife in your area?
  3. Does your pet drink from puddles or ponds?
  4. Does your pet swim in a pond, lake or river?
  5. Does your pet go into wooded areas? Up north to the cottage?
  6. Does your cat go outside at all? This entails any outdoor activity, even if its just in your backyard.
  7. How much water does your pet drink on a daily basis? Has there been any change in their water consumption?
  8. What brand and what quantity of food does your pet eat? Has there been any change in their eating habits or amounts?
  9. How many treats or table scraps does your pet get on a daily basis?
  10. Do you visit dog parks or other communal pet areas?
  11. Does your pet ever cough, sneeze or vomit?
  12. What are your pet’s elimination habits like? Have there been any changes, for example, in the frequency and volume of urination? Does your pet always have formed stools, or is it often loose in consistency?
  13. Does your pet show any signs of pain, stiffness, or decreased activity? Remember, such findings as difficulty rising from a downed position, slowing down, exercise intolerance and difficulty with stairs often aren’t simply ‘old age’, but rather can be clues to such painful conditions as osteoarthritis that is common in our pets.
  14. Do you, or will you be, travelling with your pet? Many other areas of the world have different or much more common viruses, bacteria and parasites that may require additional vaccinations or preventative medications.
  15. If it’s our first time seeing your pet, does your pet have any previous medical conditions or illnesses? Reactions to any vaccines, food, environmental factors? Vaccine history?

Talk to other family members who provide care for your pet before coming to the appointment, and make sure you answer these questions accurately. Don’t underestimate what table scraps or treats you feed or anything else about how you care for your pet. Your veterinarian is there to help you to provide the best care for your pet and they can only do that if they know the facts, and things you may think are irrelevant can be important information in your pets medical history and clinical findings.

Questions you should ask your veterinarian, which will help you maintain your pet’s future health, include:

  1. Is your pet’s weight normal or abnormal for its overall size and breed?
  2. What should your pet be eating? Nutrition is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of research in animals, and veterinarians are your best source for learning about the most recent recommendations for optimal nutrition.
  3. Were there any abnormal findings on the exam? If so, what are the next steps?
  4. What vaccines, heartworm prevention, flea control or tick control is recommended for your pet’s individual lifestyle?
  5. Are there any other problems that might pose a risk for your pet? Examples include risks associated with genetics (breed-specific problems), or risks for animals that are not spayed or neutered. For example, brachycephalic breeds such as the Old English Bulldogs often have restricted airways, which makes them more sensitive to exercise and weather intolerance, being much more at risk for hyperthermia during the warmer months.
  6. How often should your pet have a wellness examination? This interval will change according to your animal’s breed and age, as well as their current health or medical conditions, and your veterinarian will make specific recommendations based on findings from the current visit.

Based on your pets age, breed, and findings on physical examination, your veterinarian may recommend “wellness testing” that may include blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, or other diagnostic procedures. The purpose of wellness testing is to uncover subclinical or underlying problems in their early stages, where they are more easily treatable. Veterinarians are trained to interpret the results of wellness testing, along with the pet’s lifestyle and travel history, and results of the physical examination, and formulate the most appropriate treatment and prevention plan for the individual pet.

Research has shown unequivocally that sharing your home with a pet can help keep you healthy by reducing stress in your life. However, if we choose to share our lives with companion animals, it becomes our duty to make sure that we provide them with the care they need to stay happy and healthy. In many cases, early detection and treatment of sub-clinical disease can lead to a longer and better life for the pets that we love and care for.


This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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