Lifelong care for your lifelong friend

PenBay Vets believes in preventative care for pets.  Everyday we hear from pet owners "Wow, I had no idea my pet had a heart murmur, no one ever told me."  Or, "I didn't notice that my dog's mouth was bothering him, but now that you point it out, his breath is terrible and he hasn't really been himself."  We get it! We are are busy and it is hard to notice the slow and subtle changes in our pets behavior.  That is why we take annual preventative care exams seriously.  Our doctors spend the time to examine your beloved pet thoroughly - and we are catching health issues early that have previously gone unnoticed.  Remember - in general dogs and cats age the equivalent of seven years for every one our our calendar years.  Lots can happen in "seven years,"  so if your pet hasn't seen a veterinarian recently, make the call today!

The article below from the American Animal Hospital Association provides additional insights into what preventative care is, and why it is important for humans, and pets alike!

American Animal Hospital Association, PetsMatter Newsletter
Written by Kate Spencer

Prevent, detect, treat. That’s what your pediatrician is trained to do when you bring your son or daughter in for his or her annual back-to-school physical. Many human health care providers recommend annual wellness exams to prevent and detect any diseases before they get out of control. Veterinarians are trained to do the same when you bring your pet in for her annual exam. Regular preventive care visits for all members of your family are key to ensuring that illness and disease do not sneak by. Your human children receive lifelong care; so why not ensure that every member of your family receives the same care?

Like many diseases and health issues that affect your human children, diseases including genetic predispositions, accidents and injuries, allergies, cancer, hip dysplasia, and more most often cannot be prevented. However, your veterinarian can delay and/or manage them, which requires strategic continuous management of chronic conditions. The continuum of care is a lifelong commitment you and your veterinary team make to your pet to help prevent, detect, and treat any lifelong ailments your pet may face.

In the lifelong continuum of care, preventive care starts with at least one preventive health care visit per year—or more often if a pet’s condition warrants it. Many people may think that prevention refers to just a quick check-up of vitals, but it is much more than that. Prevention encompasses:

  • Vaccinations
  • Parasite control
  • Optimum nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Oral care
  • Behavioral issues
  • Spay/neuter and breeding recommendations
  • Care of lifestyle-specific diseases, injuries, or conditions

If your pet only goes to the veterinarian when there’s a health issue, you will likely focus exclusively on the problem, keeping you and your pet’s health care team from discussing the key aspects of your pet’s life. Through a regular health risk assessment, physical exam, and diagnostic testing, preventive care visits help your veterinarian be a problem preventer rather than a problem solver.

Want to save you and your pet (and your wallet) some suffering? Detect diseases early.

Early detection means finding evidence of a disease or disorder while the condition is still subclinical and the pet appears to be healthy and well. Because 6 to 12 months lapse between veterinary visits, early detection can mean diagnosing a disease or health issue in an early, though not subclinical, stage.

In one study, a prospective health screen revealed at least one previously unrecognized problem in 80 percent of senior dogs examined. In that study, only one diagnostic test was used in addition to a medical history and a physical exam: urinalysis. Imagine what could have been found with even more tests! The same holds true for cats: In another study of apparently healthy cats 6 years of age and older, more than 200 abnormalities were found, ranging from heart murmurs to gingivitis.

Because early detection is largely a search for abnormalities, it includes diagnostic tests for setting baseline values. It also means long-term monitoring that can help establish trends that may indicate subclinical disease. Detecting diseases early, when they are still relatively inexpensive to treat, is important to maintaining the health of your pet.

The lifelong continuum of care for your pet involves strategic long-term management of chronic conditions such as pain, diabetes, kidney disease, or osteoarthritis. For the most part, lifelong care is about your pet’s everyday needs rather than exceptional ones, such as acute illnesses or injuries. For many conditions, early therapeutic intervention offers the best chance of a successful outcome. Sometimes, a successful outcome may not be reached. Sometimes, a successful outcome means giving your pet comfort and longevity for as long as you can for a given condition.

One survey showed that more than half of cat owners did not know that cats could have subclinical kidney disease. However, evidence showed that cats diagnosed and treated early in the disease’s progression can live for 2 to 3 years, while those diagnosed in later stages survived less than 6 months. Regular preventive care exams with appropriate diagnostic testing can help your veterinarian develop a sound treatment plan that may help your pet live longer and more comfortably.

Whether your pet is a new young pup getting ready for his first year as a member of your family, or if he is a beloved older family member enjoying his sweet senior years, regular lifelong care will help him to stay happy and healthy longer.


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