Monday, August 22, 2011

The Importance of the Recheck Exam

You are on the couch with your pet when you wonder if its necessary to follow-up with your veterinarian after the previous weeks visit. After all, it seems like everything is back to normal, so maybe there’s no need to go back. What you may not realize is that the decision you are making not to follow through could end up being a huge mistake, one that may jeopardize your pet’s health.

Sure your pet might be eating normal again or have their usual energy back but a recheck exam helps ensure that whatever caused the initial problem is truly not an issue anymore. There is also important information to discuss during the visit including medications that were prescribed, the lifting of any dietary or activity restrictions, precautions to prevent reoccurrence and when your pet should be examined next. This is especially important if the problem involves a chronic disease, you will want to make sure all is well now, discuss what to look for as early signs that there might be a problem and have a plan ready for the future.

If your pet is still not 100%, a recheck exam becomes that much more important. It is easy to think that because the problem is still occurring your vet missed the cause or if there was not a definitive diagnosis the first time around why go back to find nothing again. Many times the follow-up exam may reveal further clues that were not present on the initial examination and may be what is needed to figure out your pet’s problem. As a vigilant pet owner, you may spot changes in your pet that no one else would notice, not even your veterinarian. These changes may occur before any specific exam abnormalities can be detected, an indication that the situation is mild and will pass with some time or that it is just the beginning and as the disease progresses further signs to identify the cause will manifest. If your pet was showing non-specific signs before and continues to show them or is now showing new or worse signs, it is imperative that you follow-up. Don’t let the problem drag on to a point where it may become more costly, more complicated or too advanced to intervene.

So the next time you are thinking of skipping the all-important follow-up visit, do what’s best, call and make the follow-up appointment and let the professionals give your pet a clean bill of health.