Pet Wellness Exams: What a pet’s weight and dental health tells us

Care & Wellness, Cats, Dental, Dogs

National Pet Wellness Month was recognized in October, making this a good time to review why wellness appointments are so important for your pet.

It is often assumed that wellness appointments are just for vaccination boosters. While vaccinations are very important, it is even more critical that your pet is looked over for potential concerns that may affect their well-being. It is not uncommon that we may pick up on subtle findings that could be bothering your pet, such as an overgrown nail or fractured tooth. Here I will focus on two areas of importance of a wellness exam: your pet’s weight and dental health.

What your pet’s weight tells us

One of the first things the veterinary staff does during a physical examination is weigh your pet. Although our patients are very suspicious about standing on the scary 3 inch raised platform (it must be a trap, right?), it is an important part of the visit. Unusual weight fluctuations can be a red flag to underlying chronic issues such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, chronic kidney problems, gastrointestinal disorders, among many others. The more often your pet visits the clinic, the more data points we have, which gives us more insight into interpreting whether recent weight changes are significant or not. Try to take to heart any changes your veterinarian recommends regarding feeding volume.

The importance of your pet’s dental health

I believe that good dental health is essential to a pet’s quality of life. Dental pain can be a source of constant stress for dogs and cats who suffer from dental disease. I am sometimes told by clients that “my animal doesn’t act painful.” It is important to understand that an animal’s life is like five card monte, they must play with the hand they are dealt. They do not understand that if they exhibit their dental pain that their owner is going to schedule an appointment for a dental work up. Pets instead just try to put up with the discomfort as that is all they know. The truth is often seen after pursuing a major dental procedure where an owner will notice that their dog /cat is playing again, being more social, or picking up toys again.

If annual wellness appointments are a financial hardship, then you may want to consider starting a health savings fund for your pet. The idea is that you stash a little bit of money away each pay period to act as a health savings fund for your pet/s. This way it helps lessen the financial impact for when you need to bring your pet in.

Our patients are our motivation to come to work. We want to keep them happy and healthy just like you. Try to schedule your loved ones in at least once per year for a checkup. We love seeing them!

-Dr. Ryan Beizavi


Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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