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We’ve all heard the saying “prevention is better than a cure” and when it comes to your dogs healthcare this statement is definitely true. Regular preventative health care and an annual visit to the vet may seem expensive and time consuming but compared to the cost of treating tick paralysis or parvo virus, for example, preventative veterinary health care is the way forward.

The reason annual checks are so important is that our pet’s age much more rapidly than people, so major health changes can occur in a short amount of time. The risks of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions all increase with age. Regular wellness examinations allow our veterinarians to evaluate your pet’s general health and diagnose, treat or prevent any health problems before they become serious.

What can you expect during your dog’s annual checkup with Cairns Veterinary Clinic?

Physical examination – During your dog’s checkup our veterinarians will perform a nose to tail examination:

  • Nose – When the vet checks your pup’s nose, he is looking for more than signs of a cold. Rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passage) is a symptom of many possible diseases.
  • Mouth – The mouth is examined for bad breath, tartar, inflammation and infections that can make your pet sick and cause tooth loss. Your vet may recommend dental cleaning and/or extractions and is able to give advice on good nutrition, tooth brushing techniques, and products which are designed to rid the teeth of tartar buildup and achieve good oral hygiene.
  • Ears – To ensure your dog can still hear that fridge door opening from a mile away, the ears are checked for wax build up, infections and other problems such as ear mites.
  • Eyes –Those eyes are irresistible especially when there is food around so it’s especially important to keep them in tip top condition. During the physical examination our vets will look for signs of infection, jaundice, allergies, glaucoma and cataracts.
  • Body – Your dog will enjoy the rub down whilst our vet checks muscle tone, weight and lymph nodes for enlargement which can be a sign of infection or disease.
  • Abdomen – It’s more than a belly rub! Our vets are feeling for tumors, signs of pain and enlarged organs.
  • Skin and coat – Fleas, ticks, mites, skin infections and lumps and bumps can be detected during examination of the skin and coat.
  • Joints and spine – Just like us, dog’s feel their age. During the examination, our vets check your pup’s joints and the spine for signs of pain and tenderness.
  • Heart and lungs – A stethoscope is used to listen for heart murmurs, irregular beats and to ensure the lungs are clear from congestion.
  • Under the tail – When our vets look under your dog’s tail, they are checking for any anal gland issues, tapeworms and tumors. They usually take a temperature reading at this stage too.


During your visit our veterinarians may recommend blood testing or further treatment based on your dog’s physical examination and history. They’ll also recommend the most suitable preventative health care for your pet. Vets will often perform preventative health care at your dog’s annual visit, such as vaccinations and worming etc.

Preventative health care is crucial in maintaining your dog’s health and wellbeing. It can also help you avoid significant medical expenses and risks to your pet’s health.   So what is essential?


Vaccination is the best way to protect your dog from serious infectious diseases. Most of the diseases we vaccinate against have no specific cure or where treatment is available it can be prolonged, costly and often unsuccessful. After your dog’s initial puppy vaccinations, annual boosters are essential to maintain immunity

Intestinal Worming

Intestinal worms are common in dogs and can cause illness or even death. Not only do worms make your best buddy sick, they represent a serious health risk for humans as well.  The good news is that we can prevent worms through regular worming.

Heartworm Preventative

Heartworm lives in the heart and blood vessels of dogs. Transmitted by mosquitoes, it has the potential to cause serious, chronic and fatal heart and lung disease in unprotected dogs. Whilst there are many products available to prevent heartworm we recommend a once a year injection because even missing one dose of a monthly preventative can put your dog at risk.

Flea Preventative

These annoying blood sucking parasites cause considerable discomfort to your pet, as well as health issues such as anaemia and flea allergic dermatitis.

Tick Preventative

There are two species of ticks that are common in North Queensland, the brown dog tick and the paralysis tick. The brown dog tick, in most cases, is harmless, however they can cause skin irritation and in high numbers, anaemia. The paralysis tick is deadly. During feeding, this tick releases a neurotoxin which interferes with the muscles and nerves causing life threatening paralysis.

Dental care

80% of dogs over three years old have some sort of dental disease which becomes more severe with age. This painful condition can also lead to heart, liver and kidney problems. Dental care is essential to maintaining optimum doggy health.

At Cairns Veterinary Clinic you can enjoy a range of benefits and discounts to help you keep your pet healthy by joining our platinum paws club.

Simply have your pet’s vaccinations at either of our clinics and we will reward your pet with a free 12 month membership to our exclusive club and you will be able to access some great benefits to make your pet’s healthcare more affordable.

For more information about our platinum paws club, see our website or call us on 4032 9999.

Cairns Veterinary Clinic is proud to have been caring for Cairns furry family members since 1966. With 2 convenient locations, Pease Street and Norman Street, Gordonvale, our clinics are staffed by a great team of hard working and dedicated veterinary professionals who treat your pets as if they are their own.   With a vet available 24/7 365 days per year, we are always here when you need us. Contact our friendly staff for all your pet’s healthcare needs.