Why Routine Exams Are Important
The annual regular exam for your cat or dog is a veterinary 'check-up' for your pet. Routine veterinary exams are performed once or twice a year when your pet appears healthy. By focusing your emphasis on early disease identification and preventive care, these checks are a fantastic way to help your pet stay in or reach lifelong optimal health. By bringing your cat or dog in for frequent exams, you are providing your veterinarian the opportunity to spot difficult to detect ailments in their early stages (cancers and parasites) as well as monitor your companion's overall health.
Scheduling Your Pet's Routine Exam
The frequency you bring your pet in for a routine exam depends on factors such as their age, lifestyle, previous medical history and the breed's risk of developing diseases. If your pet is currently healthy but has had illnesses in the past or is at a higher risk of developing diseases you should be bringing them in two times a year to make sure your cat or dog remains as healthy as possible.
If you have an adult pet that is in good health with no history of illness an exam once a year is recommended.
Very young or very old animals are often more susceptible to disease and illness and therefore our vets suggest bringing your kitten or puppy in for a checkup monthly for the first 4 - 6 months of their lives.
If your pet is in their older years or you have a huge breed of dog that is more susceptible to sickness, it is recommended that you bring them in for a checkup twice a year. Regular exams for your cat or dog allow your vet to discover early signs of disease and initiate treatment while illnesses are still in their most treatable phases, before they become serious.
What to Expect At Your Pet's Routine Exam
When you bring your pet to your veterinarian for their routine exam, the first thing the vet will do is look at your pet's medical history and talk to you about their behaviour and if anything about your companions health is concerning you. They will also inquire about your pet's lifestyle, diet, level of thirst, exercise routine and urination habits.
Often veterinarians will ask you to bring in a fresh sample of your pet's stool ( bowel movement) in order to perform a fecal exam. These types of samples are a valuable tool in terms of detecting intestinal parasites which can have a severe impact on your pet's health and wellbeing.
After this your vet will perform your pet's physical examination which usually includes:
- Weighing your cat or dog
- Listening to your pet's lungs and heart
- Looking at the animal's gait and stance for irregularities
- Checking your pet's nails and feet for damage or signs of more serious health conditions
- Palpate your companion's abdomen to see if the internal organs appear to be normal and to look for signs of pain or discomfort
- Feeling along your pet's body for signs of illness like swelling, signs of pain and evidence of lameness including a limited range of motion
- Looking closely at your cat or dog's skin for conditions including parasites, lumps or dryness
- Inspecting the overall condition of your furry friend's coat, looking for bald patching or dandruff
- Examining their eyes for eyelid issues, discharge, redness, cloudiness or excessive tearing
- Checking your pet's ears for signs of polyps, wax build-up, ear mites or bacterial infection
- Looking at your dog or cat's teeth for any indication of damage, tooth decay or periodontal disease
All of these exams and checks are able to be done seamlessly and quick if no problems are found throughout the process. Your veterinarian will most likely talk with you as they perform this thorough examination.
If your pet's immunization schedule allows, your veterinarian will also administer annual shots to your cat or dog.Vaccinations for puppies and kittens, as well as booster doses for adult pets, are critical for providing them the greatest chance for a long and healthy life. Keeping your animal companion's immunizations up to date throughout their lives will help keep them safe from a variety of contagious and potentially fatal ailments and diseases.
Additional Routine Tests Recommended for Pets
In addition to the general tests outlined above, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to acquire a better understanding of your pet's health. When considering if your cat or dog need additional testing, keep in mind that in many circumstances, early detection and treatment of illnesses and diseases are less expensive and less invasive than treating a condition in its severe stages.
The tests listed below look for a variety of conditions and can help find the earliest signs of diseases before your pet displays symptoms:
- Thyroid hormone testing
- Complete blood count (CDC)
If you own a giant breed of dog or a senior pet more in-depth testing (such as x-rays and other imaging) might also be recommended.
At The End of Your Pet's Checkup
As soon as your pet's checkup and inspection are complete, and your furry friend has had their annual immunizations and booster doses, your veterinarian will take the time necessary to discuss their findings with you.
If your vet has found any signs of injury or illness they will talk with you about getting a more detailed diagnosis or about the treatment options that are available.
If they give your cat or dog a clean bill of health, your veterinarian might provide you with tips or suggestions about your pet's oral health, diet, parasite preventions or exercise routines.
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.