As you may well know, pets age much more rapidly (5-8 times) than humans. Examining them even just once a year is equivalent to you seeing your physician and/or dentist every 5-8 years. It is our goal not only to ensure your pet is in good health but also to assess for any health risks that could lead to diseases. This allows us to work together with you to do everything we can to prevent these health risks from progressing into a disease state. This approach not only improves your pet’s quality of life and longevity but in the long run will help to reduce your veterinary medical costs.
We begin by obtaining information from you about your pet’s past medical history, behavior, environment and nutrition, as well as addressing any concerns you may have. While it may sometimes appear that our veterinarians are just petting or cuddling your dog or cat during an exam, they are in fact performing a complete physical examination, which consists of:
- examining the eyes, ears, nose, throat,
- using a stethoscope to auscultate (listen to) the heart and lungs,
- palpating the abdomen for any abnormalities,
- assessing the palpable lymph nodes (and thyroid gland in older cats),
- evaluating the skin and hair coat,
- identifying any suspicious lumps or bumps,
- palpating and assessing for any problems associated with musculoskeletal (bones, muscles, ligaments) and neurologic systems, as well as looking for any signs of lameness or pain.
Although a physical exam can provide a wealth of information about your pet’s current health, it doesn’t give us all the information we would like. For this we rely on routine laboratory tests such as a fecal parasite assay as well as blood and urine screening panels to assess organ function and overall health. Based on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as radiography (x-rays), endoscopy (internal scoping), ultrasound or biopsy if necessary. Our hope is to give your pet a clean bill of health ensuring many more years of companionship.
If it’s been more than a year since your pet’s last physical exam or you are concerned that something may be wrong with your pet, please contact us to schedule a physical exam and assessment.