March 27, 2018 Category: Veterinarians

Dogs age faster than humans, and many of them are quite good at compensating for injuries or illnesses. You might never know there's something wrong with your dog until it becomes painfully obvious. That's why it's important to bring your dog to the veterinarian for an annual exam. As an animal health expert who cares for countless dogs every year, your veterinarian has the experience and training to detect and treat a wide range of issues that can threaten your dog's health.

Here are some things to expect at your dog's annual exam:

Core vaccinations include distemper, canine adrenovirus-2 (for hepatitis and respiratory disease), canine parvovirus-2 and rabies. Your veterinarian may also recommend additional vaccinations for kennel cough, lyme disease and other common issues.

Parasite control
Most veterinarians recommend year-round protection against heartworm, fleas and intestinal parasites. Your veterinarian may perform blood tests and recommend a monthly medication such as Trifexis® (spinosad + milbemycin oxime).

Dental health
Your veterinarian will check your dog's mouth for odors, pain or other signs of disease.

Exercise & nutrition
Be prepared to answer questions about your pet's eating habits, exercise routine and any changes in weight or appetite.

Ears & eyes
Your veterinarian can detect allergies and infections before they result in major discomfort for your dog.

Abdominal issues
Simply by placing her hands on your dog's belly, your veterinarian may be able to discover a potential illness or discomfort. She'll likely ask you if your dog has had any recent issues with vomiting or going to the bathroom.

Heart health
Heart disease, irregular rhythms and heart valve problems are common in dogs, so your veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen to your dog's heart.

Coughing, shortness of breath, sneezing and nasal discharge can all be signs of a serious illness.

Coat & skin
Your veterinarian will check for hair loss, pigment changes, shedding, itchy spots and lumps. If she finds a problem, she may recommend a change in diet or prescribe some supplements.

Feet & legs
A quick check of your dog's paws and legs will reveal signs of limping, weakness, joint pain and cuts or sores.

Your veterinarian will see if your dog is in heat, has any discharges or changes in urination.

Has your dog had a change in temperament as he's grown older? This could be a sign of more serious underlying issues.

The annual exam is a powerful tool to help maintain your dog's good health. By discovering potential issues early, you'll not only save your dog from unnecessary pain and suffering, you may even save money on treatment.

Ask your veterinarian about Trifexis® (spinosad + milbemycin oxime), the monthly 3-in-1 medication that prevents heartworm disease, kills fleas and prevents flea infestations, and treats and controls adult hookworm (A. caninum), roundworm and whipworm infections. Trifexis is approved for use in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age or older and 5 pounds of body weight or greater.

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The use of ivermectin at higher than FDA-approved doses at the same time as Trifexis can result in serious side effects. Treatment with fewer than three monthly doses after the last exposure to mosquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention. Prior to administration of Trifexis, dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infection. Use with caution in breeding females. The safe use of Trifexis in breeding males has not been evaluated. Use with caution in dogs with pre-existing epilepsy.

The most common adverse reactions reported are vomiting, depression/lethargy, itching, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. To ensure heartworm prevention, observe your dog for one hour after administration. If vomiting occurs within an hour of administration, redose with another full dose. Puppies less than 14 weeks of age may experience a higher rate of vomiting. Like all medications, keep Trifexis out of reach of children.

View full product label for complete safety information.