In the last year as the protocol for rabies vaccinations has changed in our area, it has brought up many questions about the importance of bringing our pets in for a yearly exam. The answer to that question is, yes, it is very important. Routine exams are the best way to determine health changes in our pets.
When you bring your pet in for its yearly exam, the first thing the technicians do will be to weigh your pet and record it, as well as get a TPR (temperature, pulse and respiration). A blood sample for a heartworm test will be obtained as well as a fecal sample to be checked for intestinal parasites. The veterinarian will then perform a thorough head to toe exam on your pet. The mouth will be checked for gum irritation, dental tartar, masses and lesions. The eyes are assessed for ulcers, masses and cataracts and the vision quality is evaluated. The veterinarian will examine the ears to note that the eardrums are intact and that they are clean and free from discharge, sores and infection. During the exam the veterinarian will palpate the outside of the body checking for masses as well as checking the lymph nodes and joints. They will also palpate the abdomen for signs of pain, masses or other abnormalities. The heart and lungs will be evaluated for murmurs or abnormal sounds. The anal area and genitalia will also be examined for any abnormalities.
The veterinarians and technicians are trained to ask pertinent questions about your pets health that could identify any possible problems. Such questions might be: Does your pet drink a lot of water? Has your pet had any vomiting or diarrhea? Have there been any changes in your pets behavior? This is also the time that any questions you may have can be answered.
We have to remember that our pets age faster than we do and a year for an animal is comparable to 5-7 years in a human. By identifying subtle changes and taking a proactive approach to our pets health we can possibly prevent a condition from getting worse or becoming life threatening. When animals are presented for annual vaccinations they are always given a thorough physical examination. If your pet is no longer getting yearly vaccinations, please do not forget the importance of proper yearly examinations. Please call our hospital to schedule an appointment or to ask any questions regarding your pet health. A preventive approach to medical problems is the best way possible to keep your pets happy and healthy.
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