If my dog is well, why do they need an exam?
In this Staff Chat, we would like to discuss wellness exams. Not the coughing, sneezing, limping, acting weird exams – it’s fairly apparent why your dog needs to see us then. It’s the other times, when everything “seems normal” – why do we want to see your dog at least yearly, if not every six months, in the case of our older furry companions? Other than updating yearly vaccines, checking the blood for heartworm disease and tick-transmitted pathogens, and checking a stool sample for parasites, what else happens? Why do we see a vet?
So, if nothing seems to be wrong, what do we talk about? Actually, quite a bit – what do they eat, how much, and how often? Any supplements, or medications, that they also take regularly? Are they drinking their normal amount? Are they experiencing normal urination and bowel movements, or has there been a change since we last saw them? What’s their normal day – do they get much exercise, or is couch surfing their prime activity? Have there been any other changes in behavior or lifestyle? Anything you’ve noticed that seems unusual or odd?
Once we’ve discussed how they’re doing, it’s time for a thorough physical exam – which is just as important as the vaccines and various tests. Each doctor can be different, but typically the exam is started at the head and neck area. We’ll look at the eyes – is there any discharge from them? Do the pupils contract equally and normally when we shine the ophthalmoscope’s light in them? Does the cornea look ok? Next, we’ll look at the ears – both the external structure, and we’ll also take a look down the ear canals to ensure there’s no debris buildup or damage to the canal itself. Now, we’ll have a look in their mouth. Is there tartar buildup on the teeth, broken teeth, or gingivitis on the gums? Do the mucous membranes look normal? To finish up in this area, we’ll palpate the lymph nodes that are located just behind the jaw, to ensure that they’re not swollen and have a normal texture.
The next area we examine will be the chest and abdomen region. We’ll listen to the rate and rhythm of the heart, along with checking for abnormal noises that could be an early indication of heart concerns. We’ll do the same thing with the lungs – rate and quality of breathing, any abnormal noises? We’ll be running our hands over the entire body – while it may seem we’re just giving a friendly petting (which we are), we’ll also be checking the muscle, skin, and coat condition for abnormal conditions. We’ll also palpate the abdomen – we want to be sure there is no unusual swelling or thickening, and no masses are forming.
Everything good so far? We’ll move to the hindquarters next. This is most likely when our trusty flea comb will make its presence – the fur on your dog’s back, just in front of the tail, is prime real estate for fleas. We’ll lift the tail up, and check for evidence of urinary, stool, or reproductive abnormalities. There are also some lymph nodes located in this area that will be checked. Unless there are other concerns, that will wrap up our physical exam.
Now, we’ll talk some more! We’ll be discussing what we’ve found, and where to go from here. We may recommend further tests or procedures, based on something that we found during the physical exam. Perhaps some supplements, or maybe an adjustment to their diet. We may recommend that we see your pet in six months, instead of a year’s time, so we can better monitor a developing condition. We may say “keep up the good work, they look great!”.
So, when you get that reminder card or phone call, it’s not just scheduling a routine exam. It’s allowing us to partner with you in maintaining a happy, healthy, long-lasting relationship for you and your furry family members!
We offer both preventative care services (much like your visits to the dentist), along with dental x-rays and tooth extractions. Good oral hygiene is the best thing that you can do to ensure a longer life, with less health concerns, for your pet. Call us to schedule a dental exam or service.x
Laboratory services are a vital part of the diagnostic process when it comes to veterinarian care. This is because in many cases it is not possible to be able to give a firm diagnosis without undertaking additional tests to confirm the root of the problem. If you have any questions or concerns your vet will be happy to speak to you.x
This is the most effective way to assist in having your companion returned if they go missing. The microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades. When scanned, it provides information that assists in reuniting you with your furry friend!x
Congratulations on the newest member of your household - we can’t wait to meet them! Call us today to schedule an initial visit – our team will conduct a thorough physical exam, in addition to discussing nutrition, training, and medical care. We’ll be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have, as wellx
Laser therapy is a holistic, non-invasive treatment that reduces inflammation, decreases pain, and accelerates healing for a variety of conditions. It is useful as a post-surgical treatment, for acute conditions such as sprains, strains, and wounds, and chronic conditions such as degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis.x