Routine vet checkups can help your pet enjoy a longer and healthier life, but what should you expect during your exam? Today our Plains veterinary experts explain what happens during your vet checkup and why it's so important.
Your Pet's Physical Checkup
When you bring your dog or cat into our Plains veterinary clinic for a vet checkup, your vet will review your pet's medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to assess whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
Our beloved pets can't tell us when they are uncomfortable so your vet is doing all of these tests to detect any health problem that you may not be able to see by just looking at your pet.
Ensuring Vaccines Are Up To Date
Vaccines are designed to protect your dog or cat against common, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. Your vet will recommend the appropriate vaccines based on your location.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals.
Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots' on a regular basis in order to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your vet will be sure to let you know when your dog or cat's booster shots are due and when to come in for an annual exam for your cat or dog.
Preventing Parasitic Diseases & Conditions
Parasites are a common health threat to our pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can invade your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, that's why your vet will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your four-legged friend. Some parasites can be passed from a pet to their owners so proper prevention can affect your health too.
You may have been asked to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order for us to perform a fecal exam. Common intestinal parasites can be difficult to detect so fecal's allow our veterinary team to examine your dog's stool for signs of the these parasites.
Heartworm testing may also be a part of your pet's wellness exam. If your pet has contracted the deadly heartworm, the best chance at a good treatment outcome is early detection. This test allows your vet to examine your animal's blood for the earliest signs of heartworm disease.
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Weighing Up The Benefits
We understand that you may not see the benefit of bringing your seemingly healthy dog or cat in for a checkup, but there are many silent illnesses that affect our beloved pets. Our Plains Veterinary specialists can detect signs of disease before they become a serious problem for your pet, and your wallet. When compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders or diseases, (especially heartworm) regularly scheduled wellness exams will save you money.
The sooner a medical condition is diagnosed, the sooner it is treated which will help give your dog or cat the best quality of life.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.