Wellness Exams

Ensuring your cat or dog has regular wellness exams – also known as preventative care – is the key to them living a long, healthy life.

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Why does my pet need wellness exams?

Wellness exams help to prevent commonly treatable diseases and detect any health conditions as early as possible. The cost of prevention is often a fraction of the cost of treating a disease or problem once it has become more advanced, and early diagnosis and treatment of developing problems or diseases typically increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.

How often does my pet need wellness exams?

The frequency of wellness exams will depend on your pet’s age and health. During puppy and kittenhood, frequent check-ups are important to ensure they’re developing normally, and to provide them with all of their early vaccines. For adult cats and dogs, wellness exams are recommended every six months, whilst senior pets and those with chronic health conditions may require check-ups more often.

What happens during a wellness exam?

Our 360-degree exam looks at everything from nose to tail, including oral (teeth and gums), ears, ophthalmologic (eyes), cardiothoracic (heart and lungs), as well as abdominal, and musculoskeletal examinations.

We’ll administer any vaccinations your pet needs, and once a year we’ll conduct regular diagnostic tests, such as fecal testing, blood work, heartworm and tick-borne testing. If
you have a senior pet or one with medical concerns, more frequent
diagnostic testing may be recommended.

At Small Door, we take an integrative approach to wellness care, and will also provide personalized recommendations for your pet’s nutrition, lifestyle and exercise habits during their wellness exams.

Common questions

  • My pet is healthy. Do they still need wellness exams?
    Yes, all pets need regular wellness exams, even if they seem perfectly healthy. As our pets can’t speak to us and they’re often good at hiding any signs of illness, it may be tricky to know when there’s a problem. Regular exams can also help catch developing issues before they become more advanced, and allow for early treatment. Plus, pets need vaccine boosters throughout their life, even if they’re healthy.
  • My cat is an indoor cat. Do they still need wellness exams?
    Yes, indoor cats still need wellness exams. In addition to administering legally required vaccines, indoor cats can develop many illnesses and conditions that have nothing to do with the outside world, such as issues with weight, hormone problems, genetic conditions, and tumors, among other things. Cats in particular are very good at hiding pain and illness, and so by the time they show any symptoms, the problem has likely already become advanced. It’s often far easier, less expensive, and more effective to prevent an issue than to treat it later.
  • My pet has a chronic condition. How often do they need wellness exams?
    Pets with chronic conditions usually require wellness exams more often than other pets. Our vets will be able to advise on the recommended care schedule for your pet’s specific needs.
  • Should I bring anything to the appointment with me?
    Before your first visit, if you have previous medical records for your pet, from a breeder or a previous practice, please email them to, or text pictures to (212) 933-9044. If this is your pet’s first visit or one of your puppy/kitten wellness visits, please bring a fecal sample with you if possible. You can bring the sample in a regular dog poop bag or any other enclosed plastic bag or disposable container. Otherwise, you do not need to bring anything other than your pet!
  • What if the vet finds a problem?
    It’s understandable to feel anxious if the vet detects a problem during a wellness exam. However, it’s important to remember that this means your pet can now get the treatment they need. Depending on the issue, additional testing may be required, or the vet may be able to prescribe a treatment plan immediately. Our vets will always discuss your options and any costs before proceeding with tests or treatment, and will provide discharge notes recapping any issues and suggested treatment plans after your exam.

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