Routine checkups—also called wellness exams—can help provide your cat or dog with their best chance at lifelong health and comfort, but what does the veterinarian actually do during a routine pet checkup? Here, our Gilbert vets explain what happens when you bring your pet in for a checkup with us.
Your Pet's Physical Checkup
When you bring your pet companion to our Gilbert veterinary hospital for a veterinary checkup, we will review your pet's medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have about your pet's well-being or condition.
After these first steps, our veterinarians will perform a physical checkup of your pet, generally including any or all of the following steps to check for abnormal physical indicators of their health.
- Noting your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Checking your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of health concerns
- Assessing the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or hair loss
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- 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
Each of these checks are meant to detect any signs of abnormalities or health issues that your pet may be experiecing. Since our dogs and cats aren't able to tell us when they are feeling uncomfortable, these tests are able to help us to determine how your four-legged friend is feeling.
Keeping Vaccines Current
Vaccinations are designed to protect your pet from common, contagious and often life-threatening diseases. The vaccines that are recommended by us for your cat or dog are based on both where you live and your pet's lifestyle.
The core vaccinations for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, while lifestyle vaccines are generally reserved for pets that come into contact with animals from other households more often. To learn more about the vaccines that we recommend for your pet, take a look at our vaccine and parasite prevention schedules.
Adult pets will require booster shots on a routine basis in order to keep their resistance against diseases strong. In many cases, boosters will need to be applied annually or once every 3 years. Our vets will ensure that you know when your cat or dog's booster shots are next needed.
Preventing Parasitic Diseases & Conditions
Parasites can range from an annoyance and source of discomfort to life-threatening for [SITEWODE][LOCATION] pets. External parasites like ticks and mosquitos can carry bacteris or parasites themselves that may cause serious conditions and, because of this, our vets will recommend ways for your to prevent parasites from invading the body of your beloved pet. It's also important for you to know what some of these parasites may even be transmittable to you and your family members.
We may ask, every so often, for you to bring a sample of your pet's stool into our office in order to test it for intestinal parasites through a fecal exam. Fecal exams allow us to check your pet's stool for any signs of parasites that may otherwise be very difficult for us to detect.
Heartworm testing may also be a part of your pet's annual checkup. 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 dog or cat from conditions such as:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Lyme Disease
Weighing Up The Cost Of Routine Checkups
At Crossroads Veterinary Hospital, we know that bringing in your pet to see us for a checkup when they seem otherwise perfectly healthy may feel like an unnecessary expense. However, routine checkups can help your pet's veterinarian to detect signs of disease in its earliest stages. Many conditions are easiest to treat before they have had a chance to advance to more serious stages. These checkups also give us a chance to provide your pet with effective preventative care—from vaccinations to parasite prevention treatments. When compared to treating advanced forms of many of these conditions, routinely scheduled checkups will actually save you money in the long term.
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.