We like to think that our pets will live forever, but the truth is that their lives pass very quickly. What might seem like frequent visits to the veterinarian to us are not for them. If you think of it in terms of 1 year for us is 7 years for our pets, an annual exam is actually EVERY 7 YEARS in terms of their aging!
Pets Don’t Always Tell Us Something Is Wrong
Their instincts are often to hide pain and discomfort so as not to appear weak to others. During routine physical examinations, we have found significant weight loss, dental disease, growths, abdominal masses, arthritis, skin and ear infections, just to name a few. These are not bad pet owners. They are normal people who have stoic, secretive or (in the case of weight loss) very hairy pets.
Routine Blood Work Can Detect Disease Early
Without regular physical examinations, countless health issues would go undiagnosed and untreated. Serious medical issues like thyroid disease, renal failure and diabetes would be detected much later in the disease process, leading to lower odds of survival.
Your Pet Needs To Be Healthy Before Getting Vaccines and Medication Refills
If your pet is on medications, periodic tests may be needed such as blood pressure, renal or liver values, depending on the medication. Your pet also has to be seen by a doctor at least once a year for us to legally be able to prescribe medications.
Vaccines stimulate the immune system, before receiving one it’s very important that your pet doesn’t have any undetected health issues. The health and well-being of your pets is our primary concern, after all, this is our life.
What is the Doctor Looking for on a Routine Annual Exam
If you have been to our hospital for an annual exam you’ve taken home an Examination Report with the doctor’s findings in all of the below areas:
Body Condition Score – under or over weight
Coat and Skin – fleas, ticks, dermatitis (inflammation), seborrhea (scaly, greasy skin), tumors, matts
Eyes – lenticular sclerosis (normal aging change), cataracts, conjunctivitis (inflammation), eyelid problems, growths
Ears – otitis (infection), tumors, mites
Mouth – dental disease, tumors, gingivitis (inflammation)
Legs and Feet – arthritis, congenital abnormalities
Heart – murmurs, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
Lungs – congestion, crackles etc
Abdomen – masses, bladder stones, abnormal sized organs
Urogentital – retained testicles, redness, irritation
Fecal – intestinal parasites
Heartworm test (for dogs) – heartworm antigen
Senior blood profile (for older pets) – liver function, kidney function, diabetes, anemia and much more depending on the health status and age of the particular pet.
Often times we are chatting away with a pet owner while doing our physical exam and they don’t even realize we have done a comprehensive exam on their pet, sometimes they don’t even realize vaccines have been given and their baby is going back on the floor to relax!