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Preventative Care Exams Are Important for Your Pet’s Good Health
An annual physical examination is just as important for your dog or cat as it is for you. Since our pets can't tell us how they really feel, we recommend a complete physical examination at least once a year, though exams every 6 months are encouraged.
The exam is an opportunity to develop a picture of your pet's overall health as well as to spot potential medical issues before they become serious concerns. As your partner in your pet’s health, you can ask us important questions about your pet's health, habits and daily care. No question is too small or too silly, and it is our pleasure to address your concerns. We want you to be informed and comfortable in all aspects and will provide you info about home healthcare for your pet and offer important advice and new information on the care of your particular type and breed of pet.
During your pet's exam we will:
- Listen to your pet's heart - Early signs of pet heart disease such as heart murmurs and abnormal heart beat patterns known as arrhythmias can be heard through a stethoscope. Discovering these indicators can lead to identifying and treating your pet’s underlying heart condition before it becomes a more serious health threat.
- Listen to your pet's lungs - Health issues can be detected by listening to your pet's lungs through a stethoscope. The doctor can also assess the overall pulmonary health of your pet.
- Check your pet's teeth and mouth - Examining your pet's teeth and mouth is an important part of preventing dental disease , which is one of the most common health concerns in pets. Very young animals, such as kittens and puppies, also need to be checked to ensure they are developing an appropriate bite and that they are losing their baby teeth at the right time.
- Evaluate your pet's eyes - Ocular conditions can be prevented through regular care and screenings. We will look for dry eyes, cataracts, corneal ulcers and glaucoma.
- Look into your pet's ears - Issues such as low-grade allergies, swimming or bathing, reactions to certain foods, mites and other parasites can all cause and contribute to otitis or ear disease in pets. Though you may feel this can be well-handled at home, the fact is that many ear diseases are difficult to detect and require medical treatment.
- Feel the lymph nodes, abdomen and skin - By feeling the skin, we are looking for unusual lumps or swellings as well as skin discolorations, lesions or patterns of hair loss or thinning. These can indicate the presence systemic problems or metabolic diseases.
- Feel joints and muscles - By examining the joints, legs and other areas of the pet, we look for swollen joints, decreased muscle tone and variations in muscle size between the limbs. We also observe your pet's gait for developmental issues. In puppies, we look for early indications of hip or elbow problems. For senior pets, we look for signs of arthritis, which can be well-treated if found early.
- Perform blood & lab tests - A complete physical exam should include a heartworm test as well blood and urine tests each year. Not only can these tests identify the presence of underlying disease, they create a baseline should your pet become ill. A few simple tests give us so many results about your pet’s kidneys, liver, pancreas, blood sugar, white & red blood cells and platelet counts.
- Screen for parasites - Testing your pet for intestinal parasites is an important component of preventative care. Not only is this a healthy choice for your pet, but for your family as well since some parasites such as hookworms are considered zoonotic, which means they can affect humans as well.
- Administer vaccines.
- Consult on your pet’s behavior, appetite, exercise habits, and regular activities at home.
- Discuss heartworm, flea & tick and parasite control.