Routinely scheduled wellness exams are critical to helping your pet stay healthy by providing your vet with ample opportunities to check your furry family member for signs of illness and disease. Here, our Gilbert vets share some more information about what to expect when you bring your pet in for a routine exam.
Why Wellness Exams Matter
Your pet's annual dog exam or cat exam lets us check in on their health. A wellness exam is a comprehensive cat and dog checkup on your pet once or twice every year when they seem totally healthy.
Dog and cat checkups are excellent ways to help your pet remain optimally healthy with their focus on preventative healthcare and early detection.
Scheduling Your Pet's Routine Wellness Exam
How often your pet should visit your vet for a routine exam will depend on a number of factors including your pet's age, their medical history, their breed and their lifestyle and risk of developing certain health issues. Usually, once a year is enough, but for some dogs and cats, more frequent checkups may be recommended.
What to Expect When You Attend a Wellness Exam for Your Pet
When bringing your pet in to see us for their wellness exam, your veterinarians will walk through your companion's medical history and see if there is anything about your pet's behavior or health that may be cause for concern.
Often, you will also be asked to bring in a fresh stool sample in order to perform a fecal exam. Fecals are a helpful tool when it comes to detecting intestinal parasites that may significantly impact your pet's health.
During a routine wellness exam, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your pet which generally includes the following:
- Weighing your pet
- Listening to your animal's heart and lungs
- Checking the animal's stance and gait for irregularities
- Examining your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Checking eyes for redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the overall condition of your pet's coat, watching for dandruff or bald patches
- Taking a close look at your dog or cat's skin for issues such as dryness, parasites, or lumps
- Looking at your pet's teeth for any indication of periodontal disease, damage or tooth decay
- Examining your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- 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 signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
All of these checks and more can be done quickly and seamlessly if no issues are detected along the way. Your vet will likely even maintain a conversation with you as they perform this comprehensive examination.
We will also be able to provide your pet with their annual vaccines and boosters at their wellness exam. When done in addition to their routine wellness checkups, your dog and cat's vaccinations are an important aspect of giving your pet a chance at a long, healthy and happy life, from puppy and kittenhood into their senior years.
Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Some Pets
In addition to the general checks explained above, your vet may also recommend some additional wellness testing. When deciding whether or not your cat or dog should have any extra diagnostic tests, keep in mind that while there emya be some extra cost, early detection and prevention of disease is often far cheaper than having to treat the condition once it has reached an advanced stage.
The following tests screen for a range of conditions and can help detect the very earliest signs of disease, even before symptoms appear:
- Complete blood count (CDC)
- Thyroid hormone testing
If you have a senior pet or a giant breed dog, more detailed diagnostic testing may also be recommended including x-rays and other imaging.
At The End of The Wellness Exam
Once our veterinary wellness exam is completed, our vets will take some time to discuss any of our findings with you.
If we have found any signs of injury or illness, we will take some time to speak with you about more detailed diagnostics or other available treatment options.
If your dog or cat is given a clean bill of health, your vet may offer tips or recommendations regarding your pet's diet and exercise routines, oral health, or appropriate parasite prevention.0
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.