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Northpark Animal Hospital

Wellness & Preventive Care

Annual wellness exams evaluate your pets overall health, detect problems before they become serious, and keep them on track to live a long, healthy life.


We follow your pet through the many phases of their lives. From specialized and preventative care during their younger years to regular wellness checks as they age, we seek to prevent and detect problems before they arise. We know your pet is important to you, that's why we work hard to ensure they are given only the best in care through all the years of their lives.

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that your pet have a wellness exam at least once every year. As your pet ages, they recommend having even more. We believe strongly in preventive care and have developed wellness protocols for every stage of the life of your pet. Depending on your pet’s life stage, vaccines may be administered, as well as disease screenings.

Why are wellness exams important?

Wellness exams give us a chance to evaluate the overall health of your pet while also giving us a baseline for their own unique bodies and tendencies. They also allow us to detect potential problems before they become serious, and even make your pet more familiar with our veterinary hospital, making future visits easier on them and you.

When should my pet visit the vet?

We believe in preventative medicine as the best approach to keeping our patients healthy. This includes annual wellness examinations, vaccinations on a one- or three-year basis, external and internal parasite prevention, and dietary management. Our doctors will help determine what vaccinations are appropriate according to you and your pet’s needs. We will discuss in detail what your options are to help you make the best possible health decisions for your pet.

How do wellness exams work?

During a wellness exam, our veterinary team will start out by taking your pet’s vital signs and weight. Our veterinarian will perform a comprehensive nose to tail examination. Annual screening for intestinal parasites as well as heartworms are performed at this time. Intestinal parasites are detected via detection of microscopic parasite eggs with a microscope. Heartworms, which are incredibly prevalent in our area, are detected with a blood test. Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites. Heartworms live inside the heart and are different than intestinal parasites. When your pet is approaching mid life/senior life stages (usually around 8 years of age and older), a bloodwork panel (see below) is recommended during the annual examination for the purposes of early detection of disease or metabolic dysfunction, as well as establishing baseline normal values for your pet.

Wellness examinations do not necessarily mean that your pet is going to be subjected to complicated or costly medical tests and treatments. This allows us to prevent major health issues from developing undetected and gives us the opportunity to analyze and record baseline values such as temperature, body condition, and lab work. We measure these when your pet is healthy in order to provide better care in the event of illness or emergency. A dental health exam and a weight check are always important parts of a wellness exam, and may indicate problems that can progress rapidly and have significant impact on your pet's overall health.

Early detection and correction of medical problems will help to ensure that your pet will live a long, healthy, and active life.

Why is blood screening important?

General bloodwork panels include information regarding red and white blood cells, platelets, blood sugar, kidney values, liver values, thyroid function, and important blood proteins. Urinalysis is often recommended as part of routine screening to aid in providing information regarding kidney function, the presence or absence of urinary crystals, bacteria, and overall urinary health. It is natural for a pet to “hide “ illness as a survival instinct, these blood screenings allow us to better evaluate and monitor the health of your pet in more detail than a physical examination alone can provide, as well as allow for early detection of issues before they lead to detectable outward illness. Early detection and correction of medical problems will help to ensure that your pet will live a long, healthy, and active life.

Cancer Screening with OncoK9

OnocK9 is a multi-cancer early detection test for dogs. This test uses a blood draw to detect abnormal DNA release into circulation by cancer cells. This test can be utilized asan aid for screening in dogs statistically at higher risk for cancer (dogs older than 8 years), or inbreeds predisposed to cancer (Labs, GermanShepherds, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Huskies, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Flat-Coated Retriever, French bulldog, Rottweilers, mastiffs, Great Danes, Scottish Deerhounds, and irish Wolfhounds.)This test has a positive predictive value of 76-80% in dogs over 8 or predisposed breeds.

Other available screening tests available to evaluate for structural disease:

  • Radiographs (x-rays)

  • Abdominal Ultrasound

  • Cardiac Ultrasound (echocardiogram)