Why should your pet have an examination at least once yearly when he/she is otherwise normal? One year in your pet's life is nearly equivalent to seven years of ours. A lot can change in your pet during that time. During this visit, we can focus on what may be unnoticeable changes to you. We can detect little problems that should be addressed. We can alert you to deterioration in their health that can be corrected or treated. Ultimately, we want to help your pet live happily and pain free for as long as possible.
When you filled out our Patient/Client Information sheet, you answered a question as to whether your pet is a part of the family, or just a pet'. Your pet deserves to be treated like a member of the family.
What is included in an Annual Examination?
We will determine which vaccinations are recommended specifically for your pet. Worldwide, vaccinations have improved and our understanding of them has improved. We recognize that much of what we use to vaccinate for yearly, does not require annual boostering. Please read the Vaccinations page for more information.
We will check the weight, compare it to prior recorded weight, and determine a body condition score. If the weight is not in the ideal range, we will discuss the ideal weight and how you can achieve that.
We will answer your questions.
We will examine the teeth, gums and other oral structures. Pet's teeth should not have tartar buildup. The breath should be fresh. The gingiva should have a healthy appearance and not bleed when touched. Each tooth should be firmly seated and have no periodontal bone loss. We will check for oral tumors.
We will evaluate your pet for membrane color, which gives us information on your pet's circulatory system.
We will examine the eyes, paying attention to the eyelids, conjunctival color, corneal or anterior chamber changes as well as lens changes. Eyelid tumors are common, and can easily be removed with surgery. The smaller the tumor is the better for the pet and you. Changes in the cornea may indicate chronic irritation or lack of proper tears. We can make recommendations and prescribe to allow the cornea to return to normal, or keep it as healthy as possible. If there are changes in the anterior chamber, the iris or the lens, we can detect that and possibly prevent glaucoma from developing.
We will examine the ears. Pets should not have to suffer from ear infections. If there is any pain, odor or discharge from the ears, something is wrong.
We will palpate for lymph nodes of the head, neck, and other areas of the body.
We will palpate for any other lumps or bumps your pet may have developed. We can take a few cells from them to determine if lumps or bumps should be surgically removed as soon as possible, or if we can wait for a more opportune time.
We will auscult (listen to) the heart, and evaluate its rate, rhythm and sound. Heart disease is common in older pets. Detecting the problem is the first step in controlling it.
We will listen for airway sounds.
We will palpate the abdomen, paying attention to organ size, texture and placement.
We will assess the coat and skin. We want our pet's to smell and feel nice. We can make recommendations to regain that if needed and how to maintain a beautiful coat.
We will evaluate for mobility and/or lameness. Joint problems are common in our pets particularly as they age. We can help many of them either with nutritional supplement, medicines or surgery. Slowing down' is due to pain. Do not let your pet hurt.
What is recommended with the annual exam? Our physical exam gives us subjective information about your pet's health. However, objective information helps complete the assessment.
A yearly fecal floatation is recommended to help us detect gastrointestinal parasites. Gastrointestinal parasites can steal needed nutrients from your pet. Some of these parasites can suck your pet's blood enough to cause an anemia. Other parasites can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea in your pet. If there are parasites, we can treat for them. Since some of these parasites can also cause illness in humans, we are also helping protect your family.
A yearly urinalysis is recommended. Urinalysis simply allows us to diagnose otherwise undetected urinary tract infections, as well as other changes or problems occurring in the urinary or other systems. For instance, other common problems that can be detected or suggested with urinalysis include diabetes, urinary stones and kidney dysfunction.
Many pet owners do not recognize signs of urinary problems or other health issues in their pets until the pet changes its routine and starts urinating in abnormal places. How would you know when your pet has a problem? How long does it take you to detect a problem, after the pet is uncomfortable or in pain? Would you rather have your pet suffer until they start urinating on your carpet or your bed for attention or out of frustration? The answer is of course not'. A once a year urinalysis is not too much to ask.
For pets that have had changes occurring, significant illness, or on chronic medication, testing the blood for serum chemistries, electrolytes and a complete blood cell count is recommended 2 times yearly. Any pet that does not appear at the peak-of-health may benefit from having the blood test to determine and compare objective values. Even if all is well, we establish the normal values for your pet. When the objective values change over the years, the trend may help diagnose developing conditions.