Hello, it’s Dr. Krägeloh! Spring is here, and despite Covid-19 restrictions life goes on, and it goes fast! Today I would like to outline why we perform health exams with our routine vaccinations.
Vaccinations are an important part of health care, for humans as well as for our pets. Don’t we refer to them often as “fur-babies”? Preventative care is supposed to protect against (mostly) viral diseases which can be quite severe or even deadly to our pets. Vaccinations work by helping the pet’s body, or specifically their immune system, to create a defense mechanism against viruses which can invade their bodies. With booster vaccinations the (immune) system gets a “reminder” to refresh these defences.
Since these vaccinations directly affect and stimulate the immune system, we want to be sure that our pets are healthy at the time when they receive the vaccines. The way we determine this is with a health exam. The added benefit of this is that the information we gather can help us pick up early on changes in the pet’s body, and discuss these changes with you, the pet owner. We can discuss what the changes mean and how we can prevent these changes from becoming a problem, or how to intervene early with developing problems like dental disease, kidney disease or metabolic diseases.
The best terminology for this kind of exam would be “annual health examination with vaccinations”. Often this is all that is required to keep our pets healthy and happy, at least during adulthood into early mature years. It also helps us to find the best solutions for evolving problems, if caught early. For us as health professionals it is mandatory to keep records of our patients and findings, which in turn also make it easier to tailor any necessary treatment plans. Having records of vital signs and findings on physical examinations helps to trend these findings, for example weight, and address changes. This is the added benefit of the health exams. It is not solely about the vaccinations, it is about maintaining good health for our pets, and helping them and you in their journey through life!
In this sense, I hope everyone has a great start into spring!