Our goal for all of our patients is to achieve- and maintain- optimum wellness.
We want our pets to be active and vital until just before death occurs. Annual wellness visits are an important part of our effort to enable you and your pet to have a wonderful life together. Functional medicine recognizes the importance of preserving organ reserve capacity for as long as possible. In order to do this, efforts must be made to counteract the many small daily traumas that are the cause of aging.
Annual physical exams provide an opportunity to listen to the heart and lungs, palpate the abdomen, and examine eyes, ears, skin, mouth, and musculoskeletal system. The annual physical gives me an opportunity to assess the pet’s energy and vitality. As part of the annual physical we recommend a fecal exam and urinalysis. While a urine sample may be difficult to obtain, it provides a great deal on information about how the body , especially the kidneys, is functioning. The annual physical is an excellent time to discuss small changes that have been observed in a pet’s behavior, mobility, eating habits- or any other issue that is causing concern.
As a pet ages, the annual wellness visit becomes more important and more involved. In addition to annual preventive tests, we recommend age appropriate functional tests. For example we recommend a thyroid profile at a much younger age than is usually done. Hypothyroidism is common in dogs. If a thyroid profile is analyzed from a functional perspective, nutrient deficiencies can be identified and corrected. As a result, the dog does not go on to become hypothyroid.
Functional testing gives us a means of providing real preventive care, rather than simply early disease detection. Disease processes often begin with nutrient deficiencies, which gradually result in greater and greater dysfunction until a disease occurs. Functional testing permits us to identify imbalances and deficiencies before there are any symptoms. Correcting imbalances and deficiencies can halt a disease process before serious, permanent damage occurs. For this reason we recommend a urine amino acid profile when a pet reaches senior age. This test will reveal abnormalities in GI tract function, need for vitamin and minerals, oxidative stress level, impaired detoxification, need for magnesium, neurological disorders, and the need for protein.