Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network


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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Pet Veterinarians and Technicians at our Toronto Animal Hospitals are often asked what the necessity is of an annual wellness examination, beyond it being a ‘waste’ of $70.  While veterinarians always give you statistics and facts, it often sounds disingenuous.  As Veterinary Clinics we are trying to scare you into spending money that you might otherwise think is better spent elsewhere.

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The most often response I get from our veterinary hospital clients when making annual wellness exam reminders is ‘my pet is healthy’.  Or often ‘s/he doesn’t look like anything is wrong, I’ll just pass this year.”  I can admit freely, that I felt the same way.  I have three cats all which are ‘healthy’.  They eat well, drink well and use the litterbox regularly with few to no accidents.  All three of them love to play, wreak havoc and are typical cats.  One day, my only male cat Jack, was caught urinating in a sink we don’t often use.  Figuring it was a one off as a reaction to a new addition to the troop of cats I have, I passed it off as him asserting his dominance.  Until it happened again.

I made the appointment to bring him in for inappropriate urination, thinking that either he has a urinary infection or is just being a typical cat who is rebelling against a new cat coming into the house.  Needless to say, Jack the cat hates coming to the veterinary clinic for anything.  He is the typical ‘angry cat’ and will barely let anyone touch him.  After much struggle and a thorough pet vet examination with Veterinarian Dr. Steede she asked about his breathing.

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It was ‘fine’.  I hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary.  He loves to play, is always moving around and is a picture perfect cat.  Her examination and a brief, then extended, listen to his heart came up with some questionable results.  It sounded as though he had a heart murmur.

“But he’s only 2 years old.”

“But he’s healthy.”

“He looks fine.”

All of these were my initial responses to her.  The vet smiled and said “I know, but I think we should look into it in depth.”

The ultrasound was ordered and I was instructed not to worry until we found out what was going on.  It could be nothing, it could be something but there was no point in worrying until we knew what we were dealing with.

And I’m sure you all know how hard that is.  But I did it.  He waited at the clinic for his ultrasound and relished the attention the girls upstairs gave him.  Once we had the ultrasound we learned that he does indeed have a heart murmur.  It’s manageable with medication, but left untreated could have blossomed into serious heart disease.  The veterinarian who performed the ultrasound congratulated Dr. Steede in catching the murmur early enough to stop it from becoming a serious concern.

Coming from experience, it is hard learning that a member of your family is sick, or has the potential to get sick.  But I am of the mind where I would rather catch it early, deal with it before it becomes untreatable.  Jack the cat might have to be on medication for the rest of his life, and he might have to come in more regularly to monitor his heart, but I will take that over losing him too early to something that I would never have noticed had I not brought him in.

With annual examinations, routine blood testing and other tests, we are able to dig deeper than a surface assessment of how our pets are doing.  Not every single disease or issue is visible, and with a simple examination and one decision to look a little further under the skin, we are able to really understand what is going on inside of our pets and catch things before they become too far gone to treat.

With Jack the cat, now I know there are certain types of anaesthetic that he will react negatively to.  I know to watch for signs that his heart murmur are getting worse and I can be proactive in making his life as long and happy as I can, just like he does with mine.  The best piece of mind I think we can keep is going to visit the veterinarian, doing a few tests to check up on what is not picked up by the naked eye and be told that your cat or dog is healthy and doing great.

Now, with each kiss he gives me, each snuggle I get and every time we curl up on the couch together I realize that every day is a gift with him.  I brought my ‘healthy’ cat in only to find that yes he is healthy now, but there is the potential of him being fatally ill later, and I can do something as simple as giving him a pill twice a day to prevent that from happening.

If you have any questions, we at the Pet Wellness Network Hospitals are always here to answer, speak or discuss with you any concerns you might have.  As a business our primary concern is to be available for you with extended hours and cutting edge technology and services.  As human beings, our primary concern is the health and happiness of you and your pet and maintaining that health and happiness for years to come.

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