Swan Valley Veterinary Clinic

Box 388
Swan River, MB R0L 1Z0




Wellness? What is it anyway?

 Wellness is a term used to describe optimal health.  Wellness includes the ability to enjoy life to its fullest as well as freedom from sickness and pain.  Wellness is not just about vaccinations and treating animals when they are sick or painful.  The cornerstone of an animal wellness program is having regular physical examinations done by your Veterinarian.  You and your pet see each other every day so it is hard to notice gradual changes.

There are many things that contribute to the well-being of your pet:

Nutrition:  A good quality diet fed in the appropriate amount is fundamental to achieving and maintaining healthy body weight.  Animals with healthy body weight live longer than overweight animals.

Cleanliness:  Brushing, hand rubs, bathing, ensuring your pet is clean and has a well  maintained hair coat contributes to your pets quality of life.  Time spent grooming your pet also helps you notice any lumps, bumps, or physical changes before they are very advanced.

Exercise:  Activity is important for both physical and mental stimulation of your pet.  

Bonding time with humans:  There are many different ways to spend time with your animals such as walking, sitting together, playing quietly, playing with toys.  Not all bonding time involves giving your pet food (treats).  Pets can be rewarded by just spending time with people.

Preventing disease:  Regular veterinary exams are required to assess the health of your pets.  Appropriate vaccinations should be given when recommended, and both internal and external parasite control should be considered.  Heartworm is an internal parasite carried by mosquitoes that can be easily prevented.  An annual oral exam is important to maintain dental health.  Dental health is commonly neglected and poor dental health significantly reduces the quality of life of your pet.

 As with so many other things in life, wellness is a choice.  Think about the wellness of your pet:  look for it, nurture it, maintain it, enjoy it, work it.

    person holding cat


Why do our pets need wellness screening?

Firstly, our pets can't speak, they cannot tell us if they feel off colour or unwell or have any other indicators of internal illness. We need to examine them every 6 months as well as run some routine screening tests to detect underlying disease BEFORE it is clinically apparent.

Secondly, pets will actively mask signs of illness until late in the course of disease. This stems from survival instincts in a pack or colony situation.  Treatment of disease is most successful if started before disease has progressed to cause significant clinical signs.



Use the age chart below to find your pets age in "people" years and the screening testing recommended for each stage of his or her life.

We believe the following tests give us the best chance of helping your pets live longer, healthier lives.


Every 12 months - Baseline Blood Profile (PCV-packed cell volume, TP-total protein, BG-blood glucose)

Every 12 months - Urine Specific Gravity ( a urine test to check how well the kidneys concentrate urine) 


Every 12 months - Annual Health Profile (a blood test checking red and white blood cell counts and a more comprehensive internal organ screen)

Every 6 months - Urine Specific Gravity  


Every 12 months - Senior Health Profile (comprehensive internal organ screen including Thyroid testing, electrolytes and red and white cell counts and complete urinalysis)

Every 6 months - Urine Specific Gravity


Every 6 months - Golden Years Health Profile (comprehensive internal organ screen including Thyroid testing, electrolytes and red and white cell counts and complete urinalysis) 


age chart