Why Do Pets Need Comprehensive Exams?
Don't you wish your pet could talk? But just like babies, they are not able to tell you how they feel. In fact, animals may out of instinct hide illness or injury. They do this because, in the wild, the ill or injured are easy prey for predators. A once a year examination by a veterinarian is recommended for your younger pets, and every six months for senior pets (dogs and cats over 7 years old).
It's always easier to manage or reverse pets' medical issues when found early and treated appropriately.
Another good reason is to keep their vaccines up-to-date. Having regular comprehensive examinations and dealing with medical issues as they come up leads to optimum health and long life.
What to Expect at an Exam
Pet exams and human exams are surprisingly similar. A technician will take a temp and check the weight. It's helpful if you bring records from your previous veterinarian that can be reviewed and incorporated into your pet's file. This will inform the vet of any previous history that needs monitoring.
- Skin and Coat. Skin and fur will be examined because they can give clues to the pet's overall health.
- Eyes. Is there any discharge, redness, unusual response to light? How about cataracts?
- Ears. Is there any infection? Are there growths or mites?
- Nose and Mouth. The nose will be checked for discharge. The mouth will be examined for dental health or masses.
- Abdomen. The abdomen will be examined for lumps or pain.
- Extremities. The extremities will be checked for pain on movement, range of motion, wounds.
- Anus. The rectal area will be checked for lumps and a stool sample may be taken.
- Heart and lungs. A stethoscope will be used to listen to the heart and lungs, checking for heart murmurs or breathing problems.
- Tests. At the end of the physical exam, the vet will administer any vaccines that are due and will order any other tests indicated by the physical exam. Senior pets may need blood tests to check liver or kidney functions.
- Vet recommendations. Your vet may discuss diet, exercise, behavioral or lifestyle concerns, and develop a plan for future care.