The Value of Your Pet’s Annual Physical Exam
We know that your pet’s health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance to you, as it is to us. Our veterinarians are always evaluating our recommendations for preventative care such as vaccines and the annual check-up.
Many of you bring your pets in for an annual exam when it’s time to update vaccinations. While one visit can take care of both of these important needs, the annual physical examination is perhaps the single most important part of the visit with the veterinarian. Routine examinations give your veterinarian the opportunity to create a bond with your pet and establish what is “normal” so that they can more quickly detect when something is wrong.
Because of the natural changes in a senior pet (they age must faster than humans), it important that your veterinarian sees your senior pet more frequently throughout the year to ensure they stay happy and well during their older years. Your veterinarian will discuss any changes they notice as they move in to middle age and discuss different treatment options. Talking to your vet during the physical exam about any changes you’re noticing in your pet will help them determine a plan of care based on your pet’s individual needs. Veterinary experts recommend twice yearly visits to detect and treat any issues before they become a bigger problem.
What Happens During Your Pet’s Physical Exam?
Each pet is given a thorough assessment during the veterinary physical exam that is essential to a lifetime of wellness. During a physical examination, your veterinarian checks your pet from nose to tail, checking their eyes, ears, nose and mouth and takes the time to check for any lumps and bumps. Your pet feels like they’re getting fussed on, but palpation or “feeling” is a really important assessment tool. Your veterinarian will also listen to heart and lung sounds.
During the exam it’s important to discuss changes in your pet’s attitude, behavior, appetite and general wellbeing. All of these things may give your veterinarian some insight into your pet’s individual needs.
Other annual tests such as bloodwork, gives your veterinarian an “inside look” at the functioning of the internal organs that can’t always be detected by feeling or listening. Also, regular bloodwork, parasite screenings and urinalysis establish a “baseline” each year so that your veterinarian can quickly see if there are any changes in the body systems since their last visit.
Your veterinarian will chat with you about parasites; those that live outside the body and in (yuck!). Heartworm is a serious disease, spread by mosquitos, and can only be detected with a blood test. Your veterinarian will check your pet’s stool for any obvious or microscopic intestinal parasites and discuss with you preventative options – remember many parasites can be spread from animals to humans.
Reducing the stress of a veterinary visit
We know that getting a cat to the veterinary office can be a stressful situation for the whole household. We do not want this to be the reason why cats do not see a veterinarian on a routine basis! Learn more about how to reduce the stress of a veterinary visit for you and your cat.