Pet Life Hacks with Dr. Sherrill: Why do pets need an annual exam?

Just last week, a client and I were remarking how silly it was that we had to ask our doctors to actually examine us – as in listen to my heart during my annual exam, and palpate a hurt knee in the case of my client. Compare this to the great detail that our veterinary practice puts into cat and dog annual and senior pet exams, and, well, there is NO comparison.
Unfortunately, the lack of preventive care for humans means that much of human medicine deals with urgent issues that are responsible for a crisis – such as a heart attack that might have been avoided in a patient with emergent cardiac disease, that went undetected by a lack of annual wellness visits.

As veterinarians, we are trained to perform a thorough history (SUBJECTIVE) with a detailed physical exam (OBJECTIVE) when we meet with our patients.

This translates to finding issues early on, when steps can be taken to mitigate any impending disease states or crisis events. Early measures equal less expensive every time – if you have ever been to a Pet ER for something wrong that could not wait, you can vouch for what I’m saying here ($$$$).

Annual Exams from kitten and puppies up to around 7 years and Bi-Annual Exams in the case of pets 7 and older are the cornerstone of preventive care for cats and dogs.

In a relatively short amount of time, Dr. Cohen and I apply our experience (over 2 decades worth each) to what we see, hear, feel, smell, observe and detect from your pet during their annual exam. From this lens of expertise, we can make recommendations for health care that can add to your pet’s longevity and a better quality of life. Always a good thing.

At the Annual Exam, ask questions and let us work with you to debunk popular pet care myths and pet-damaging rumors or, frankly, idiotic pet advice off of social media and other non-qualified internet sites, so that your pet stays healthy and safe with proper care.

Annual exams help us to stay compliant with the required Veterinary Client and Patient Relationship so that Rx drugs and products can legally be prescribed. Once the annual exam lapses, we can’t prescribe for your pet, by law.

But the best reason to schedule an Annual Exam visit for your pet is to be a good pet owner. Seriously.

Your pet licks your face, sleeps on your bed, rides in the car, goes to family and friend events, fetches a ball or frisbee, goes running with you, comforts you when you are in need, and does so much more. This is family.

You should be motivated to have an expert care for your pet, who can provide proper vaccine and preventive care advice, give you resources, and suggest relevant products, including modern, safe, science-based drugs and preventives.

This is what VETERINARIANS can do for you and your pet. PLEASE don’t defer to a groomer, breeder, trainer or even friend, none of whom are trained in veterinary medicine (which is 4 years of med school after college, by the way, not including special training or extra degrees).

Our reminder system (ALLYDVM), while not perfect, keeps track and sends early notices of Annual and Senior Pet exam due dates. Our staff works hard to make this accurate. And there is a portal available for you so you can view your pet’s reminders anytime:
We want this to be a good service for you; feedback is welcome.

And one more thing before I go: as veterinarians, our patients are your pets. We are NOT in the business of suggesting the use of toxic drugs or chemicals for your pet. Think about this for a second: if we prescribe toxic products and treatments, harming our patients, not only is this unethical, but it would lead to actual catastrophe and having much fewer patients! What would be the sense in this? No sense – it’s a Lose-lose.

We are partners for you and your pet – here to help. We really do our best every day, along with a dedicated staff, promoting kindness and respect for eachother and for you.

We want your pet to have a long and healthy life, and we are the experts to help achieve that with you.

See you at your pet’s next Annual Exam!

Yours truly,
Dr. Sherrill

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