From Nose to Tail: Examining Your Entire Pet

Veterinarians master proper physical examination of all animals under their care. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, you can also apply the techniques of physical examination on your pets. That way, you could tell your veterinarian right away if you notice something out of the ordinary. Here are the details you must know if you want to know how to examine your pet from nose to tail. 



A cool, wet nose is not always a sign of good health. Wetness in the nose means it has good blood circulation and your pet is hydrated. Dehydration may happen if your pet is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting. It may also occur if your pet has issues with drinking water. If your pet has suddenly stopped drinking water, you should bring your pet to the vet right away. This could be a sign of a serious condition. Warmth in the nose is often the result of hyperthermia or an increase in body temperature. A cool nose may be due to hypothermia or decreased body temperature. 



The ears should look straight. They must be in the same position. You can do this by holding your pet’s snout gently. Check the insides of your dog’s ears. This is more crucial if your dog has huge and heavy ears. Floppy, droopy ears often lack proper air circulation, which increases your pet’s risk of developing an ear infection. You can find out if your pet has ticks or ear mites with regular ear inspection.



Hold your pet by the snout. Look at your pet directly. Your pet’s eyes must have the same size and shape. The pupils must get smaller when you shine a light on them. They should get bigger in dim lighting. The irises of your pet’s eyes may be the same or different colors. Healthy eyes do not have discharge flowing from them. Seeing more than a tiny part of your pet’s third eyelid could mean your pet is dehydrated. 



See if your pet has a healthy pink shade. Pale gums indicate possible internal bleeding. This may happen after severe trauma to the body. It may also indicate poisoning or damage to the liver or spleen. Yellow gums may be a sign of liver disease. Blue or gray gums may show that your pet is not getting enough oxygen. If your pet’s breath smells like rotten cabbage, there could be a dental abscess. A urine-like breath odor may indicate kidney disease. A metallic smell may indicate advanced diabetes. 



Check your dog’s paws and nails. See if there are cracks or cuts in the paw pads. Nails that are too long will need trimming and filing. This can prevent the nails from cutting into the paw pads, which can cause pain while walking or standing.

Taking good care of your pet means being hands-on. Performing a regular nose-to-tail exam can help prevent serious health problems.

For more on nose-to-tail pet examinations visit the Animal Hospital of Salinas in Salinas, California. Call us at 831-346-0600 to schedule an appointment or ask about our preventative vet health packages.

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