I see a lot of patients who only come in for vaccines and in dogs, if they are only get Rabies and Distemper Vaccine (not Lyme, Lepto, Bordatella and Flu which are also recommended vaccines dependent on your dogs lifestyle). Or people who only bring their cats in for Rabies vaccines every 3 years. Sometimes these people think the only thing veterinarians are for is for vaccinating their pet and euthanizing at the end of their life. They really don't understand that just like regular tune-ups for your car, or taking good care of your health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I have seen patients that come in to get vaccines, but I end up diagnosing serious illness, such as cancer or immune mediated disease that the owner had no idea about. When we diagnose these diseases BEFORE they have to go to the Emergency Room, we could help them save thousands of dollars, or give them extra time with their owners instead of "suddenly" dying at home. Every exam I go into, I go into with an open mind. I do not vaccinate until I examine the eyes, ears, joints, abdomen, heart and lungs. I sometimes will go into an exam for vaccines and inform an owner that their dog is blind, has a serious ear infection, or could benefit from a change in diet or an over the counter medication for allergies or another disorder the owner wasn't even aware of. If we diagnose these problems early, it can not only improve the pet's quality of life, but also the owner's pocketbook. If 1 year of a dog's life is equivalent to about 3 years of a humans, it's not unreasonable as they get older that we perform exams and bloodwork annually or semi-annually. One of the things I appreciate about being a veterinarian is it is not cookie-cutter. I could go in to vaccinate a dog and instead end up having a wide variety of conversations, putting on my oncologist, dermatologist or cardiologist hat and changing from a general practitioner who vaccinates to a diagnostician that investigates. In someways, with people not being aware of what is going on with their pet, I can amaze them by saying, "I bet your dog chews its paws a lot, right?" or picking up on other signs that there is something going on, "does your dog stumble" and then telling them, "No, your dog hasn't become klutzy, she's lost her eyesight." Keeps every day interesting. So please, consider taking your pet in regularly, it's not for us to earn more money, it's for your pet to stay healthy in the long-run.