Adult Wellness Care: Essential for a Healthier Life for Your Pet

Wellness care is important for pets throughout their lives. Although most dogs and cats are often the healthiest during their adult years, practicing prevention can be key to helping your pet live well.

Most dogs and cats are considered adults from about 1 year until about 6 or 7 years of age, depending on breed and size.

Why Wellness Exams and Preventive Care Matter

One of the main ways to keep your pet as healthy as possible is through regular veterinary wellness exams. As pets transition from puppy- or kittenhood into their adult years, we like to see them every 6 to 12 months for a checkup (frequency depends on lifestyle, health, and age). During these visits, we’ll focus on the following aspects of their care.


This is when we switch your pet to an adult cat or dog vaccination schedule. We’ll give vaccine boosters to help provide your pet with continued protection against serious, highly contagious, and potentially deadly diseases. These include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and adenovirus (hepatitis) in dogs and rabies, panleukopenia (feline distemper), viral rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus), and calicivirus in cats.

We may also recommend additional vaccines to help protect against diseases that your individual pet may be at risk for because of lifestyle, risk of exposure, and other factors.

Disease Prevention/Detection

Many pets (cats in particular) don’t tend to show signs of disease, especially in the early stages. Annual wellness exams give us the chance to catch any potential diseases or conditions as early as possible. Early diagnosis can not only provide us with more options for treatment but can also give your pet a better quality of life.

Parasite Prevention

Making sure your pet remains free of parasites is an important part of keeping your pet and the rest of your family healthy.

  • Heartworms, transmitted by mosquitoes, can cause lasting, sometimes fatal damage to a pet’s heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels. Treatment of heartworm infection in dogs is difficult, and no treatment is approved for cats.
  • Some parasites that pets can harbor, like hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms, can be transmitted to humans.
  • Blood-sucking fleas and ticks are happy to feast on both pets and people as well.

We’ll provide your pet with a personalized parasite prevention plan that can help protect your whole family.


A well-balanced, complete diet is essential throughout your dog or cat’s life. We can recommend an appropriate diet and amount to feed based on your individual pet’s needs.

Exercise & Activity

Keeping your pet at an ideal weight can help your pet stay healthier and even reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, respiratory problems, and heart, kidney, and liver disease. At your pet’s wellness visit, we can talk about ways to keep your adult pet active and fit.

Dental Care

Your cat or dog’s oral health can have an effect on his or her overall health. Untreated, dental (or periodontal) disease can lead to problems with your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver. That’s why we take a look inside your pet’s mouth and will recommend a dental exam and cleaning, if needed, to help keep your pet healthy.

To find out more, look for our next blog, where we’ll highlight the importance of dental care for your pet.

What Screening Tests Tell Us

As part of your pet’s wellness exam, we’ll recommend blood work, a urinalysis, a fecal exam (which is why we request a stool sample from your pet), and other tests as needed to check for—and hopefully rule out—heartworm disease, tick-borne diseases, and breed-specific conditions, such as heart disease or joint issues, as appropriate for your individual pet.

How Wellness Exams and Screening Tests Help You

In addition to playing a crucial role in helping to keep your pet healthy throughout life, regular wellness exams give you the opportunity to:

  • Ask us about any questions or concerns you might have
  • Bring up anything you’ve noticed that seems different with your pet, like a behavior that’s new or a lump you hadn’t noticed before

And screening tests can not only give us an early start on treatment, but can give you peace of mind when they come back negative.

Wellness exams and screening tests play an essential role in your pet’s health. At South Branch, we prefer to practice preventive care when possible. By being proactive, we can sometimes even prevent certain conditions or illnesses in the first place. Schedule your pet’s wellness exam today!

If you’re stressed about bringing your pet in for an exam, give us a call. As a Cat Friendly Practice® and Fear Free facility, we’ll help make sure you and your pet both have a calmer, more relaxed veterinary visit.