Early Detection of Problems Leads to Longer Life for Your Pet
Comprehensive physical examinations are an important tool in providing a long, quality life for your pet. Pets age 5-7 times faster than humans, can't talk, and often hide early signs of disease. One year represents 5-10% of the pet's life span, whereas one year only represents a very small percentage of the average life of a human. Getting a comprehensive annual physical examination for your pet is like one every 5-7 years for humans.
Since pets can't talk to us, they often are unable to communicate problems before they become a major concern and threat to the pet's well being. Any hint of abnormalities may bring recommendations for additional laboratory testing to confirm suspicions.
Components of the Comprehensive Physical Exam
Weight and Other Body Vital Signs: Significant weight gain or loss can be an early warning of disease. Obesity is the most common nutritional problem in pets. Your pet's overall body condition will be evaluated and appropriate recommendations of diet and other nutritional needs will be made. Temperature, pulse and respirations are also assessed. Elevation in any of these can be a sign of infection, inflammation, illness or pain.
Skin and Hair Coat
Dull, dry, brittle hair or hair loss can indicate an underlying illness. Flea infestations can lead to serious disease.
Eyes, Ears and Nose
Such things as severe conjunctivitis, cataracts, and glaucoma can sometimes be prevented if detected early enough. Thorough examination of the ear canals can prevent painful ear infections and loss of hearing. The ear canal of pets is anatomically different from humans with the majority of the canal hidden from view with the naked eye. Tumors, grass seeds, excessive wax, and ear mites are commonly found in the lower part of the ear canals.
The Comprehensive Physical Examination allows us to make recommendation for further tests, changes in nutrition and also allows us to safely immunize your pets against life threatening / preventable diseases. The information and physical findings are determined with the aid of our Animal Health Technicians (AHT) and our Doctors.
Abdomen: Evaluate by palpation (using our touch) organs in the abdomen. The liver, kidneys, bladder, gastrointestinal tract and lymph nodes are checked for size, consistency and location.
Age Related Concerns: These concerns take into consideration the life stage of your particular pet.
Appearance, Weight, Temperature: Varies for individuals, species and breeds, but we are responsible to know the normal.
Behavior: Any recent changes or ongoing problems would be considered.
Cardiovascular: Use History of changes in exercise tolerance, collapses or coughing may be important to cardiovascular abnormalities. Use of stethoscope to evaluate rate, rhythm or presence of heart murmur are important to a comprehensive physical exam.
Gastrointestinal tract: Abnormal history of vomiting or abnormal or absence of stools is evaluated. History of proper diet is noted for species, age and underlying medical concerns. (Check out Hill's Pet Nutrition)
Mouth and Teeth: Gums, teeth and internal mouth structures are checked for normal appearance. Surface of the teeth are evaluated for signs of tartar build up and associated problems of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Musculoskeletal: Bone structure, including absence of joint swellings, is evaluated to be normal for species, age and breed. Motion or gait is also visualized to assure normal findings.
Nervous System: Bright and alert attitude with proper body control is assessed for normal findings. History of abnormal changes or loss of consciousness (possible seizures) is evaluated.
Respiratory: Use of stethoscope to evaluate normal lung sounds are important. Palpation of chest and trachea may be helpful to determine normal findings.
Skin and Hair Coat: Healthy full haircoat is evaluated, as well, as the absence of any tumors, bumps, scales or redness. History of signs of pruritis (itching) are checked as part of a comprehensive physical exam.
Urogenital: Evaluate for a normal urinary tract with history of absence of any abnormal changes of frequency or difficulty in urination. Intact males and females are checked for normal structures and history. (see our recommendations for surgical sterilization).