Dr. Rebecca Guglielmo VMD, VCA Bayview Animal Hospital, Lifestyle It is important to remember that just like with people, good health in animals comes from preventative care. Just as we have our cholesterol and blood pressure checked more often as we age, pets need annual exams and bloodwork as well to screen for illnesses such as diabetes and thyroid disease. Also, many pets are on medications and need to monitor their effects on internal organs. The Center for Disease Control recommends that veterinarians check a fecal sample yearly for microscopic parasites, which are not only harmful to your pet but many are also contagious to people. Since 1 out of every 15 dogs in Ocean County recently tested positive for exposure to Lyme Disease, annual vaccination for Lyme and other illnesses is more important than ever before. Frequent dental cleanings also help prevent periodontal disease from harming organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart. In addition, monthly heartworm and flea and tick preventatives are an important part of wellness care and prevent diseases that can be life threatening and expensive to treat. If you detect problems early, you can treat and resolve these illnesses with less expense and greater success.