Don’t Fail Your Exam!
In the past, veterinarians stressed the importance of annual vaccinations for keeping pets healthy. While we still feel vaccines are important, we know now that not every pet needs every vaccine every year. What every pet DOES need is a comprehensive physical exam by a veterinarian every six months.
A comprehensive physical exam is a “nose to toes” assessment of your pet. Even pets that appear and act healthy may have medical problems that can worsen with time. Pets are designed to hide illness- it’s a survival mechanism. Finding problems early allows us to begin treatment sooner, and a physical exam is the first step in finding those problems.
The top five conditions diagnosed on physical exam are:
- Dental Disease. Approximately 80% of adult pets are affected. Dental disease causes pain and affects your pet’s general health.
- Eye problems
- Heart arrhythmias and murmurs
- Otitis, or inflammation of the ears
During a physical exam, your veterinarian will:
- Examine your pet’s entire body for lumps, bumps or sores.
- Palpate your pet’s abdomen, checking for masses or abnormalities in the internal organs.
- Examine your pet’s mouth, checking for tartar buildup, inflamed gums, broken teeth, and periodontal disease.
- Look for changes in gum color which may indicate anemia, liver disease or circulatory problems.
- Listen to your pet’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope, checking for such things as murmurs or arrhythmias which may indicate heart abnormalities.
- Examine your pet’s ears, checking for inflammation, infection, foreign bodies, parasites or tumors.
- Check your pet’s outer and inner eyelids for abnormal lashes, bumps, inflammation and other conditions. Your veterinarian will also examine the external and internal eye structures, looking for such conditions as “dry eye,” glaucoma, nuclear sclerosis, and cataracts.
The physical exam gives you and your veterinarian a large amount of information for a small price. If your pet has not had a physical examination recently, call your veterinarian today! It is truly an excellent investment in your pet’s health and happiness.