Tips for Talking to Your Veterinarian

Could your pet look healthy on the outside but not be okay on the inside? “Absolutely,” says Dr. Marty Becker.  “Since pets can’t tell us when they’re not feeling well, it’s up to owners to manage their pet’s care,” says Becker, “and the best way to do that for healthy looking dogs and cats is to provide them regular veterinary care.” recovery from surgery. She is doing well and has had no additional health problems. “Hanna is a great example of a pet whose life was saved because of a six-month wellness exam,” said Dr. Rehm.Morning America and veterinary/pet columnist for Knight Ridder Tribune, says that pet owners can take control of their pet’s health in two ways. First, by scheduling a wellness exam every six months with their veterinarian. Second, by informing their veterinarian and clinic staff about changes taking place with their pet.



Hanna’s story is a good example. A 7-year-old golden retriever mix, she was taken in for her six-month wellness exam. According to her veterinarian, Dr. Mike Rehm of Mobile, AL, Hanna was slightly overweight, but otherwise appeared normal and healthy. A routine blood profile, however, showed that Hanna’s liver enzymes were dangerously elevated, and even worse, her gallbladder was almost ready to burst. Dr. Rehm operated immediately and was able to save her life. Hanna is now being treated for liver disease and has made a full

Twice yearly wellness exams help the veterinarian detect, treat and, ideally, prevent problems before they become life threatening. During the exam, the veterinarian will conduct a physical, take the pet’s history, conduct blood and urine screenings, and update vaccinations. The veterinarian will look for signs of kidney, liver and heart disease as well as cancer. 

Dr. Becker offers the following tips on topics owners should be prepared to discuss with their veterinarian about their pet:

  • Any changes in weight, diet, eating, drinking, elimination or behavior
  • The pet aging process and how it affects pet health
  • Environmental exposures – indoors and outside
  • Use of any over-the-counter medications
  • Health of any other household pets
  • Travel plans involving your pet
  • Vaccination and preventive health care plans


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