Pet wellness exams are an important part of your pet’s preventative care. They allow your veterinarian to closely monitor the health and wellbeing of your pet and enable them to detect issues early before they potentially cause debilitating symptoms or become difficult and expensive to treat. This is important since many illnesses and diseases in animals don’t cause symptoms until they have progressed. Animals are also naturally inclined to try and mask any illness, making detection even more difficult.
Most veterinarians recommend that pets attend a wellness exam at least once every year. However, the frequency may be increased with increasing age or if there are any concerns about their health. If you haven’t taken your pet for a wellness exam at Vista Hills Animal Hospital before, it can help to know what to expect. Here’s what you need to know about what’s included in a pet wellness exam.
Before you get started, your veterinarian may want to have a quick chat with you about the health and behavior of your pet. They may ask a series of questions about their diet, exercise, and mannerisms, or the conversation may be more informal. It’s important to be truthful with your answers as they will reveal important information about your pet’s lifestyle. Now is also a good time for you to ask any questions that you may have about your pet. In some cases, the information discussed at this time can help your veterinarian know which areas of your pet to look more closely at. Your veterinarian may also suggest some changes which they believe could improve the health of your pet even further.
The physical exam is a nose-to-tail inspection of your pet to check for any abnormalities. Your veterinarian will look at and feel your pet’s legs, abdomen, head, face, and neck areas, and use special equipment to listen to their heart and lungs. The following are some of the assessments your veterinarian will carry out to ensure your pet is healthy:
Checking your pet’s vital signs (i.e. – temperature, pulse, and respiration)
Looking at the condition of their coat and skin
Examining their nails to ensure that they aren’t overgrown
Inspecting their mouth, eyes, and ears for signs of dental issues, ensuring eyes are clear/in good condition and that their ears are not infected
Evaluating their joints and mobility (poor mobility can suggest health problems such as a degenerative disease like arthritis)
A full-body check to ensure organs are in good condition and that your pet has no lumps/bumps that require closer attention
If your veterinarian has any concerns at this point, they may recommend further testing and/or lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, supplementation, etc).
Often, the only way of confirming what is happening inside your pet’s body is to perform one or more tests and analyze the results. For example, if your vet is concerned that your pet may have a degenerated joint, they may recommend that your pet have an x-ray, CT, or MRI scan to confirm the cause of their symptoms. Some of the tests that may be recommended for your pet could include:
Blood testing, including a complete blood count and blood chemistry profile
Fecal testing, which is primarily to check for the presence of intestinal worms
If the results of any of these tests require further investigation or treatment, your veterinarian will be able to arrange this for you at your earliest convenience. They’ll also be able to explain what you can expect to happen going forward.
For more information and advice about pet wellness exams, or to schedule an appointment, please call Vista Hills Animal Hospital in El Paso, Texas at (915) 592-5867 today.