What is a Preventive Exam?
A preventive exam helps you and your veterinarian provide the best care for your pet. These annual or twice annual visits to your veterinarian help to reassure you that your pet is healthy, are essential for maintaining the health of your pet, and aid our veterinarians with early detection of any conditions or diseases. The preventive exam gives a complete picture of your pet's health, and allows you to make medical decisions based on your pet's unique needs.
Why is your pet's Preventive Exam important?
One of the challenges in veterinary medicine is diagnosing illness. Your pet cannot tell us when something hurts, or bring it to our attention if they notice a lump or bump, or groan at us if they are finding exercise more strenuous.
If you consider the fact that your pet ages approximately seven times faster than you do, then a visit to the veterinarian every six months is equivalent to you visiting your doctor every 3 and ½ years. This is why regular checks by your veterinarian are so important, particularly in young, growing pets or in ageing pets, where conditions can develop and change quickly. Diagnostic testing done throughout your pet's life gives a trend for what is normal for your pet and allows us to monitor changes. Faster diagnoses and prompt treatments will reduce long term cost to owners, give a better chance for a favourable outcome, and can extend the length and quality of pets' lives.
What happens during a Preventive Exam?
Your veterinarian will take a history and perform a complete physical exam to assess individual risk factors for your pet. This is a good opportunity for you to ask questions, communicate any changes that you notice in your pet at home, and discuss any concerns that you may have in regard to your pet.
It is during this exam that you and your veterinarian will decide on an individualized preventive plan for your pet which includes vaccinations, diet, parasite prevention, dental care, and diagnostic tests.
How do I start my pet's Preventive Program?
By being proactive, you are increasing the likelihood of having your pet share a longer, healthier life with you. Please contact our office, where the staff will be happy to schedule a preventive exam for your pet.
Microchipping your pet is the best method of reuniting lost pets with their owners. A microchip is a permanent form of identification about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades with no sedation required. This chip is read with a scanner. Pets that are found and taken to a veterinary hospital or SPCA are routinely scanned for a microchip.
Each microchip is encoded with a unique number which will be registered to you and your pet. Your information is kept in confidence with the facility that implants the microchip as well as the registration service. It is important to keep your information current. There is no charge for ownership or address changes and they can be updated online.
Microchipping your pet lasts a lifetime and truly is the best chance for bringing a lost or stolen pet home.
Senior Preventative Exams
The senior status for our pets varies according to our pet's breed and life experiences. The staff at Westward do not consider aging to be a disease. Aging, however, can certainly bring on changes that can affect the quality of life in pets just as it does in humans.
Senior wellness is a lifelong process. It means taking care of your pet before signs of old age appear. A good choice to make for your pet is to have your veterinarian perform a baseline examination at a younger age. A spay or neuter is a good time to do much of the diagnostic testing that will provide the baseline for any future testing. What is normal can vary from one pet to the next so diagnostic tests for your pet will provide the clearest picture for identifying elevated or decreased levels of function in later years. Baseline trends throughout the lifetime of your pet are critical in diagnosing disease processes. By being proactive, you have a better chance to delay health problems and a better outcome with treatment.
Scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the best choices you can make for your aging pet. When your cat or dog enters their senior years, these examinations gain even more importance and it is recommended that your pet receive a senior examination twice a year. When you think about how your pet ages in human years, there can be a lot of change in a 6 month period. These examinations and any required testing are the best way for our veterinarians to understand the age related changes in your pet and to develop a preventive program best tailored to your pet.
The purpose of such a program is to find concerns before they advance to serious disease and to allow you to be proactive with your pet's health. Information obtained by the veterinarian can indicate what changes are happening with your pet, often before they show symptoms. This allows both you and your veterinarian the insight and understanding needed to make the best possible, well informed, choices for managing the aging process of your pet. The earlier action is taken—be it medical, nutritional, or exercise related—the more there is that can be done to manage and even improve the quality of life of your senior pet as they enjoy their later years.
Senior Dogs and Senior Cats have some different components to their examination and diagnostic testing and this is provided in more detail on those pages.
Good dental care plays a crucial role in the quality of your pet's life and is as important for your pet as it is for you. Dental disease occurs when the bacteria found in the mouth are allowed to multiply, causing changes to the tissue surrounding the teeth. Most of the disease occurs below the gum line and is not readily visible. If left untreated, dental disease can result in permanent damage to the teeth and can often lead to systemic problems in your pet due to bacteria entering the blood stream. This may then lead to damage of organs such as the heart, kidneys, pancreas, and lungs.
Oral disease in your pet is not always noticeable so early detection and treatment is critical to the length and quality of your pet's life. Dental disease can cause significant pain that your pet cannot communicate and they often suffer in silence. Proper dental care can prolong the life of your pet by as much as 20% for most dogs, which is at least 2 years, while for cats that can mean a life 4 years longer.
Your pet should come in every 6 months for a free oral health assessment with one of our trained veterinary technicians. They will look at your pet's teeth and probe the gums looking for abnormalities or problems.
Only dental x-rays will reveal what is going on below the gum line. Accordingly, we start each dental cleaning with x-rays and a tooth-by-tooth assessment by the veterinarian. Your veterinarian studies the x-rays to examine the structure of the roots, surrounding tissue, and bones. Abnormalities such as abscesses, bone loss, and tooth decay are all factors taken into consideration to determine the best dental procedure for your pet.
Our team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians receive continuing education to remain up to date on the most advanced techniques and products to provide your pet with the best possible dental care.
Signs of Dental Disease:
- persistent bad breath
- red or swollen gums
- favouring one side of the mouth when chewing
- possible loss of appetite
- facial swelling or sensitivity around the mouth
There are several pet insurance options available. They should be looked at carefully to discern the best available plan for you and your pet.
Petsecure is an inclusive dog and cat insurance that allows you the freedom to make decisions based on what you feel is right for your pet rather than based on what you can afford.
There are various levels of coverage for accident and illness. If your cat or dog is between 8 weeks to 4 years of age and you just want to try the coverage, you may choose the Vetstart trial. It is a 6 week trial of pet insurance with a value of up to $5,000. Of course you may choose to step directly into the program and sign up for one of the four levels of coverage.
Getting started is easy. First, choose your level of coverage. Next, learn about the benefits. Then select your annual deductible option. The insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.
Once you have enrolled in a benefits plan, it is simple to process your claims. Visit your veterinarian, pay the invoice, have the veterinarian complete and sign the claim form, then fax or mail the form along with an itemized invoice to Petsecure. The staff of Central Animal Hospital will be happy to fax your completed form for you. Once the claim has been processed, payment comes directly to you by mail or direct deposit.
For more information:
Sometimes the unexpected happens. Medicard allows you to take care of your pet's needs without delaying treatment. Medicard pays your veterinarian and then you pay Medicard with convenient monthly payments.
Applying to Medicard is very simple and can usually be completed the same day. Determine how much financing you will need (an approximate amount can be preapproved), choose your terms (6 months or 1 to 5 years), and submit your form online or by fax. You will be notified of the credit decision by phone and faxed or e-mailed documents for your signature. You will then return the signed documents with a void cheque. Medicard will pay your veterinarian directly and monthly payments will be debited from your bank account.
You can be preapproved for a certain dollar value with Medicard. This can give you the comfort of knowing that your pet will be looked after even in the case of an unforeseen emergency.
For more information:
Spaying & Neutering
We offer an affordable spay and neuter program to encourage pet owners to spay and neuter their pets which will help decrease the number of unwanted pets in our community. Spaying your female dog or cat will reduce the risk of mammary, ovarian and uterine cancer, and keeps you from having to deal with a female dog or cat in heat which can sometimes be messy or noisy. Neutering your male dog or cat will reduce the risk of prostate disease and testicular cancer, as well as decrease undesirable behaviors such as roaming and marking. In addition to Spaying and Neutering we also perform a wide range of soft tissue surgery such as lump removals and wound repair.