An Annual Comprehensive Physical Exam is Important

If your veterinary team can see and examine your pet regularly and see how things are going, it can help them to catch problems earlier when they are easier and less expensive to treat or discover problems that you might not be aware of such as heart murmurs or abdominal masses.  Comprehensive physical exams also allow you and your pet to build a relationship with a doctor you trust and who knows your pet. They “see the movie” rather than just a snapshot picture of your pet’s health at one point in time.

In addition to the exam, these appointments include a thorough history as to how the pet is doing at home on a day to day basis.  The exam allows us to track your pet’s body weight (you may not notice gradual changes), and allows us to have a discussion of treatment options and/or diagnostic tools to help further assess your pet’s health. Not to mention, it allow us to catch problems earlier when they are easier and less expensive to treat.

We request that pet owners bring along a fecal sample in order for an intestinal parasite exam to be performed. This is a valuable tool when it comes to detecting intestinal parasites that can severely impact your pet’s health.

Your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination of your dog or cat which generally includes the following:

  • Weighing your pet
  • Checking the animal’s stance and gait for irregularities
  • Examining your pet’s feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
  • Listening to the animal’s heart and lungs
  • Taking a close look at your dog or cat’s skin for issues such as dryness, parasites, or lumps
  • Inspecting the overall condition of your pet’s coat, watching for dandruff or bald patches
  • Checking eyes for redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
  • Examining your pet’s ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
  • Looking at your pet’s teeth for any indication of periodontal disease, damage or tooth decay
  • Feeling along your pet’s body (palpating) for signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
  • Palpate your pet’s abdomen to assess whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort

All of these checks and more can be done quickly and seamlessly if no issues are detected along the way. Your vet will likely even maintain a conversation with you as they go along.

Annual vaccinations will also be given at your pet’s wellness exam, based upon the appropriate schedule for your animal.

As well as the general checks listed above, your vet may also recommend additional health tests. When deciding whether your pet should have additional testing it’s important to keep in mind that in many cases early detection and treatment of disease is less expensive and less invasive than treating the condition once it has reached more advanced stages.

After your pet’s physical checkup is complete, and your pet has received their annual vaccines, your vet will take the time to discuss any findings with you.  If your veterinarian has detected any signs of illness or injury, they will take the time to speak to you about more detailed diagnostics, or available treatment options.  If your animal is given a clean bill of health, your vet may offer tips or recommendations regarding your animal’s diet and exercise routines, oral health, or appropriate parasite prevention.

If it is time for your pet’s checkup, give us a call!