Top Questions to Ask Your Vet

For many pet owners, a visit to the veterinarian only happens once or twice a year. However, there are a lot of questions that can come up in between appointments. Asking the following questions will help you make the most of this valuable one-on-one time with your veterinarian and help you keep your pet on the right track.
1. Is my pet at a healthy weight for its breed?
In the United States, over half of the dogs and cats are overweight. The consequences of excess fat in dogs and cats can include skin disorders, orthopedic disease, chronic inflammation, kidney dysfunction, reduced life expectancy, and many other life-threatening conditions. Unfortunately, many pet owners with overweight dogs or cats do not see it as a problem. At Pet Medical Center, our veterinarians can assess your pet's weight and overall health and make specific recommendations regarding diet and exercise. Although not as common, some pets can have a hard time putting on weight and keeping it on. Maintaining a healthy weight not only reduces the risk of disease and injury but is a crucial factor in the overall quality of life and life expectancy of your pet.

2. Am I feeding my pet the right kind of food?
Good health starts with proper nutrition. A well-balanced diet, fed in appropriate portions is vital for your pet's overall health and wellbeing.  Pets have different nutritional needs throughout the various stages of their lives. Younger animals require up to twice the energy intake of adults and need more protein in their diet. Adult pets require nutrients to maintain and repair body tissues and to meet their energy needs as well. When feeding your senior pet, the main objective should be to maintain health and optimum body weight, and slow development of chronic disease. Your pet's activity levels will also play an essential role in determining what type of food you feed and how much. When it comes to quality pet food, there are a lot of options available. Our knowledgable veterinarians and staff can help you select the right food for your pet, with the proper nutrients and protein content he or she needs. As you can see, throughout the stages of your pet's life, the kind of food you feed and, the amount will change as their bodies grow, mature, and age.

3. What do you recommend for flea and tick prevention?
Protecting your pet from parasites is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach. Age, species, breed, lifestyle, and health status, as well as any medications your pet is already taking,  are all factors that affect the type and dose of the product. Some flea and tick medications are not safe to use on older pets, and this also applies to very young pets. Our veterinarians can help you choose the optimal flea and tick preventive. We can also explain the differences between topical and oral medications such as what parasites they protect against, how they work, and for how long.  Choosing a remedy that fits the lifestyle of you and your pet will make it easier to stay up-to-date with the treatments as well. We are happy to answer any other questions you may have about flea and tick prevention. A few other common questions to ask include:
  • How long will it take for the medication to take effect?
  • If I see a flea or tick, does that mean the product is not working?
  • What should I do if my pet reacts to the product?

4. Is it normal for my dog to [fill in the blank]?
Don't be afraid to bring us your questions about anything unusual you have noticed in your pet. It can be easy to assume that certain behaviors or responses are insignificant when, in reality, they can be an indication of a deeper health issue. For example,  wheezing, itching, sneezing, or lethargy may indicate an allergic reaction or dietary condition. Behaviors such as pawing, yawning, licking, barking, or whimpering can be a sign that the animal is in pain. When you notice anything that concerns you, write it down, and we can discuss it at your pet's appointment. Also, write the date next to the occurrence, so you don't have to try and remember when it first happened or how often it has occurred since. Our staff at Pet Medical Center works day in and day out with animals, and we can help you understand the meaning behind the subtle signs your pet may be exhibiting. 

5. Do my pet's teeth need to be cleaned?
Animals suffer from cavities, plaque, and tartar buildup, gum disease, and even abscessed teeth, just like humans do. More than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3 years suffer from some degree of periodontal disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to other more severe health complications such as issues with the kidney, liver, even the heart. Instead of waiting for a problem to develop, ask your veterinarian if your pet is due for a dental cleaning. At Pet Medical Center, our veterinarians will thoroughly examine your pet's gums, teeth, cheeks, palate, and tongue. During a routine cleaning, dental technicians use modern and safe ultrasound tools to clean each tooth, above and below the gum line. They also polish the teeth, which creates a surface more resistant to plaque buildup. We recommend annual cleanings beginning at age 1 for small-to medium-breed dogs and cats and age 2 for larger dogs. Maintaining good dental health can prevent disease before it becomes a problem—keeping your pet healthy and saving you money.

6. What are these lumps and bumps?
There are many types of lumps and bumps in dogs of all ages that stem from a variety of causes. It's especially common for bumps to develop as pets age. If you find a mysterious lump, call us and make an appointment to have it evaluated. While it could be nothing to worry about, in some cases a harmless-looking mass could indicate a more serious condition. When it comes to successful treatment, early detection is crucial. Point out any new lumps, bumps, or strange moles that have appeared since your last visit. If necessary, one of our veterinarians will perform a biopsy for further testing.

7. Does my pet have all the necessary vaccinations?
It never hurts to double check and make sure your pet is up-to-date.  Sometimes, it is easy to overlook vaccinations, especially if your appointment is for something other than a yearly checkup, or if you've rescued a dog and don't have medical records. Ask one of our veterinarians or staff members about which vaccinations your pet needs, now and in the future, and note the information on your calendar. Also, if you plan on traveling with your pet, or boarding him, there may be additional immunization requirements.

8. Why does my pet need a blood test?
A blood test is a handy tool for looking at the overall health of your pet. Blood tests can screen for a variety of issues, including kidney and liver disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health conditions, which if caught early, can be treated. It will also reveal if various nutrients are lacking in the diet. A blood test performed on a healthy pet serves as a baseline, for the veterinarian to compare results against, should your pet become ill in the future. Pre-anesthetic blood work serves the critical role of making sure that your dog is healthy enough for anesthesia and surgery.

9. How much will this cost?
We get asked this question all the time, so don't be shy asking us how much you can expect to pay for routine medical checkups for your pet. You may also want to know about additional costs involved for a blood test and analysis, or for procedures such as a biopsy including the assessment, a potential surgery,  or any of the other services we provide. At Pet Medical Center, it is important to us that you understand the value of what you are buying and what it means for your pet.

The information on this site is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please call Pet Medical Center at 931-393-2707.