Have you ever imagined why we give so much priority to wellness examinations for your pet? It will be a surprise for you that veterinarians and the state needs yearly examinations for all the pets before filling the prescriptions or giving them the vaccines, but there are big reasons behind this. When you go to your doctor and describe the personal symptoms in detail, your pets cannot! In fact, many of our pets have more acute symptoms of illness you may not be aware of it at all. Cats are good at hiding discomfort/illness. This is because cats are both prey animals and predators, and they have evolved to hide the signs of illness to an even more dramatic degree than dogs. Luckily, your veterinarian has many effective tools to identify the disease even when there is time to intervene successfully. 

The in-depth physical examination may seem deceivingly basic. But, in less than minutes, a veterinarian can collect plenty of valuable insight into the health status report of your pet. To give you a better understanding of what your veterinarian is calculating, we have broken down the various components of physical examination.

Your pet’s physical examination begins even before your vet has entered the room ?!. The information that you share with the vet’s technician is called history. Your technician and the vet will ask you questions that are not only focused on issues you may be concerned about, but also will establish a deep understanding of your pet’s lifestyle and its general health. The next step will begin with their assessment by inspecting your pet’s general appearance. This includes observations of how your pet is standing/walking, whether they seem alert and bright, or if they appear depressed. You have probably observed it before that your vet will work in a systematic manner from the tip of your dog’s nose to the tip of their tail, pointing out any abnormalities in the eyes, nose, ears, skin, coat, muscle condition, paws, legs, toenails, and much more. 

You may also have seen your vet open the pet’s mouth for checking the condition of teeth and gums. Depending on your pet’s age and breed, they can also perform an orthopedic exam to detect any signs of trick knee or arthritis.

Your vet may also take the pet’s temperature if the pet is cooperative to ensure the pet is not experiencing a fever. In the end, your vet will listen to your pet’s heart and lungs. They can hear the heart’s distorting the normal heart sounds that may indicate heart disease, abnormal rhythm in the heartbeat, or signs of airway disease while listening to the lungs.

According to America’s Veterinary Medical Association, the most common diseases pets experience is dental disease. Recent studies have found that almost all pets have some sign of dental disease by the age of 2. A physical examination can reveal plaque, gingivitis, tartar, infection, and fractured teeth that may require further treatment or even extraction. 

So it’s clear, that the physical examination is an important part of your pet’s preventive care, but it’s just the beginning of a thorough evaluation of your pet’s overall health. Annual intestinal parasite screening and blood testing are a few of many screenings that can keep your pet healthier and happier for a longer period. If you have questions related to your pets, we are just a phone call away!