How often do I need to take my healthy pet for a check-up?

Don’t wait for your pet to display signs of illness to visit your veterinarian. Like us, our pets need regular monitoring by a medical professional to keep them healthy.

A once-a-year trip to the veterinarian is the best way to identify – and prevent – potential health problems. An annual physical gives you a chance to talk with your vet about any changes in your pet’s behaviours and habits. Routine check-ups at regular interviews allow your pet’s doctor to develop a record of what is “normal” for your pet, making it easier to identify when something is wrong. And, importantly, finding diseases in their earliest stages improve the pet’s chance for successful treatment.

What to Expect?

An annual check-up should include a physical examination in which your vet checks your pet from nose to tail — examining eyes, ears, nose and mouth; feeling your pet’s body for lumps and bumps; and assessing heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Be prepared to tell your veterinarian about any changes you may have noticed in your pet’s behaviour, appetite, playfulness, and so on that might be clues to a health problem.

The exam should also include a check for parasites. Heartworm, a potentially-fatal disease transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes, can be diagnosed with a blood test. Intestinal worms in both cats and dogs can be diagnosed by checking a fecal sample. Your vet should also discuss with you medicines to prevent parasite infections.

The annual check-up is also a good time to update vaccinations. Pet owners from outside Malaysia are required by law of their country to have their dogs – and cats, in many countries – vaccinated against rabies. Rabies vaccination is required every one to three years, depending upon the vaccine your vet uses.

Cats also need protection against upper respiratory tract viruses and feline distemper. Cats that spend unsupervised time outside should also get a feline leukaemia vaccination.
After the initial puppy shots, adult dogs should have an annual DHLPP injection to boost their protection again distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus. If your dog spends time with other dogs – whether in a dog park or at a boarding kennel – you should also have your pet protected against bordetella.