Routine exams - or pet checkups - play an essential role in giving your pet their very best shot at a long and healthy life, but what does a vet do during your pet's routine exam? Here, our Madison team explains what happens when you bring your pet in for a checkup.
Your Pet's Routine Wellness Exam
When you bring your dog or cat into Best Friends Animal Hospital for a vet checkup, a veterinary technician, nurse or other professional will review your pet's medical history with you, and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
After these initial steps, one of our experienced veterinarians 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
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- 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
- 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)
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- 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
All of these tests are performed to help your vet detect any signs of potential health problems your pet may be experiencing. Since our dogs and cats can't tell us when they are uncomfortable, these tests and checks help to determine how your furry friend is generally feeling.
Ensuring Your Pet's Vaccines Are Up To Date
Vaccines are designed to protect your dog or cat against common, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. The vaccines recommended for your dog or cat will be based on where you live and your pet's lifestyle.
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. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet checkout our vaccine schedule.
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.
Protecting Your Pet Against Conditions Caused By Parasites
Parasites are a real health threat to Madison 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. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!
You may have been asked to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order for us to perform a fecal exam. Fecals allow our veterinary team to examine your dog's stool for signs of common intestinal parasites which would be very difficult to detect otherwise.
Heartworm testing may also be a part of your pet's wellness exam. This test allows your vet to examine your animal's blood for the earliest signs of heartworm disease. Detecting heartworm as early as possible provides your pet with their best possible chance of a good treatment outcome if they have contracted this serious parasitic condition.
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 bringing your pet in to see the vet when they seem perfectly healthy may seem like an unnecessary expense but routine checkups help your pet's team of veterinary professionals to detect signs of disease in the earliest stages when many conditions are easiest to treat, and also to provide your pet with the very best in preventive care - from vaccines to parasite prevention medications. When compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders or diseases, (especially heartworm) regularly scheduled wellness exams will save you money.
Not only that, but they will make sure your pet experiences a minimal amount of discomfort or pain from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
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.