What is a Pet Exam?
Pet wellness exams are routine veterinary exams to ensure pets are healthy and disease-free. Similar to a human "check-up", a dog exam or cat exam is vital to detecting illnesses in their earliest stages so that your vet can begin treatment immediately. How often you should take your pet for a wellness exam depends your pet's age and health status. Your Blue Star vet would be happy to recommend an appropriate wellness exam schedule for your pet.
What Does a Veterinarian Check During a Pet Exam?
Before beginning the exam, your vet will ask you about your pet's lifestyle, diet, behavior and level of physical activity. Vets are also interested in knowing what kind of parasite prevention products owners are using on their pets, such as collars, dips and chewables.
During a dog exam or cat exam, veterinarians will also evaluate the following physical and mental points:
- How pets walk and stand (an abnormal stance or gait could indicate joint or muscles problems)
- How alert a pet is to audible and visual stimuli
- Overall condition of the animal's body (is the pet's weight and fat distribution appropriate for their size and age?)
- Coat condition (vets looks for signs of hair loss, excessive dryness/dandruff and coat roughness)
- Skin condition (lumps, inflamed patches, oiliness, areas of abnormal skin thickening)
- Eye health (evidence of discharge, excessive tearing, eyelid bumps, cloudiness)
- Ear health (redness, inflammation, discharge, skin thickening)
- Oral health (tartar/plaque buildup at the gum line, broken/decayed/missing teeth, mouth ulcers)
Vets also listen to a pet's heart and lungs for signs of abnormalities such as arrhythmia, heart murmurs and difficulty breathing. Palpation of your pet's abdomen can reveal indications of possible kidney, spleen, bladder and liver disorders, especially if palpating the area causes pain to the animal.
Laboratory Tests and Pet Exams
Your vet may ask you to bring in a sample of your pet's feces to ensure your pet is not suffering a roundworm or tapeworm infection. Dogs and cats can have roundworms or tapeworms but present only mild symptoms like occasional diarrhea or vomiting. Heartworm testing may be recommended if your vet considers your pet at risk for a heartworm infection. Depending on the results of a pet exam, vets might order blood tests to determine if a suspected infection or disease exists. Veterinary blood tests detect diabetes, thyroid disease, autoimmune infections and other chronic diseases affecting dogs and cats.
Keep Your Pets Happy and Healthy at Blue Star Vet
To schedule a dog exam or cat exam with your Blue Star vet, call 904-257-8282 in St. Johns or 904-584-9958 in Jacksonville FL.