Northeast Animal Hospital
727.822.8501
1401 4th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
Should my dog get an exam every six months?
Simple answer: A biannual exam is at the core of good medicine.

What should my dog and I expect at the exam?

  • Devotion to your pet, as if he or she was our own
  • Routine questions about your dog’s diet, appetite, exercise, behavior, medical records, and any concerns you might have
  • Observations to identify any changes in alertness, liveliness, gait, stance, symmetry, weight, size, and growth pattern in your dog
  • A thorough physical examination of your dog to check for abnormalities in skin, coat, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, heart, lungs, lymph nodes, legs, and abdomen
  • Recommendations for vaccinations, parasite control, additional testing, and treatment of any conditions we find

A wellness exam is a routine assessment of general health. It is recommended that your pet have a wellness exam monthly when a puppy and every six months when an adult. If your dog is a senior or has ongoing health issues, a medical plan developed by you and your veterinarian is recommended.

Wellness exams and their frequency are critical to the total health of your pet. Health issues can become severe before your dog shows any clear signs of them. However, a wellness exam can help you and your veterinarian detect diseases and conditions at their first stage, when they are most treatable. Further, it is generally cheaper to prevent health problems than it is to treat them.

Here’s a tip to help you save: Our sister practice, Pets In The City, offers free vaccinations for dogs when they go for a wellness exam during the months of August through December. Do you have a cat too? Both of our practices offer free vaccinations for cats— with a wellness exam—all year long.

Does my dog really need regular exams?

  • The frequency of wellness exams depends on your dog’s age, breed, daily routine, and medical history
  • Regular exams help establish, first, a normal baseline for comparison; and second, a means to identify abnormalities based on comparison to earlier exams
  • Health risks and lifestyles change over time
  • It is not lawful, ethical, or in the best interests of pets for veterinarians to prescribe medications for animals that are not actively under their care
  • Just as the prevention of disease is the foundation of good medicine, a biannual exam is the foundation of good prevention

Humans might skip an annual doctor’s exam, especially if they feel healthy. After all, people have their own free voice. But dogs have no voice to express their need to visit the vet. Even though they may look healthy, dogs may hide weakness and pain, even pain that would prompt their owners to visit their own doctor if they experienced the same level of discomfort.

Skipping a six-month exam for dogs is the human equivalent of missing over three to seven years of health exams! Since one human year is equivalent to seven dog years (on average), our pets could suffer ill health for a greater percentage of their lives if issues are not detected and treated early.

Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A Wellness Plan from Northeast Animal Hospital can help make “an ounce of prevention” worth even more. Please call to see how a Wellness Plan can help save you money.