Routine wellness exams are an important part of your pet’s preventative healthcare. They help keep your furry friend healthy by giving your vet an opportunity to check them for early signs of disease and to monitor their overall health and wellbeing. Most animals are recommended to attend yearly exams, but if your furbaby has an underlying health condition or your vet has any concerns, the frequency of these appointments might be increased.
Have you taken your pet for a yearly exam before? Anxious owners make for anxious animals. To prepare you and put your mind at rest, here’s what to expect.
Usually, one of the first things that will happen during the appointment is your vet chatting with you about the health and behavior of your pet. They may ask things like:
How much exercise does your pet get?
How often do they eat and what do you feed them?
How much do they sleep?
Are they up to date with their preventative treatments (for fleas, ticks, worms, etc)?
Do you have any concerns about their health?
This is the perfect time to bring up any worries that you may have about any of your pet’s habits or behaviors. Your vet may also make recommendations if they feel that there are any changes that can be made that would benefit your pet’s health and wellbeing. For example, older pets often need to have their diet adjusted or supplements given with their meals to reduce their risk of specific health problems.
Next, your vet will conduct a physical exam of your pet. This comprehensive assessment will involve many different elements, including but not limited to:
Weighing your pet and taking note of their temperature
Listening to their heart and lungs
Checking the way that they stand for any irregularities
Looking at the overall condition of your pet’s coat
Checking their eyes for redness, clouding, or other abnormalities
Examining their feet, paw pads, and nails for issues
Looking at your pet’s ear for signs of infection, such as discharge, or ear mites
Feeling your pet for any unusual lumps or bumps
Palpating their body to check the size and position of their organs
Checking their teeth for signs of decay or gum disease
This physical exam will tell your vet a great deal of important information about the health of your pet. If necessary, the vet can arrange for further diagnostic testing if they have any concerns.
If your vet feels that your pet may be developing some issues, or if they would simply like more information about their health, they may request additional testing. Although the idea of more invasive testing may seem worrying, the following testing techniques are proven to be highly effective at detecting diseases early. Detecting diseases early makes treatment more likely to be successful, less expensive, and less traumatic for your pet.
Blood tests: These can tell your vet how well your pet’s organs and body systems are functioning, if they are fighting infection or if they have a problem like anemia
Thyroid testing: Older animals are more likely to develop problems with their thyroid function
Urinalysis: A urine sample can tell your vet about the health of your pet’s urinary system and kidneys
Fecal analysis: This looks for parasites like hookworms and roundworms
Heartworm testing: Heartworms live in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs and can be deadly if not treated early
X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans: Will be useful in looking at internal structures, from bones to soft tissue
If you have further questions about what to expect at your pet’s yearly exam, please get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable veterinary team at Animal Hospital of Salinas in Salinas, California by calling (831) 346-0600.