A complete physical exam may not be a lengthy procedure, but it provides a wealth of information to the Veterinarian. The pet is both observed and palpated from the tip of the nose right to the tip of their tail. The veterinarian will be looking to see if your pet is under or over weight, if their teeth and mouth are healthy, if there are any abnormal lumps or bumps found on your pets body, the condition of their skin and coat, they will feel the abdomen to check for enlarged or abnormal organs and they will listen to your pets heart and lungs to ensure there are no abnormal rhythms or sounds. They will maintain continuous communication with you to ensure your pet always receives the best care possible.
This is usually the time when vaccines are administered. The doctor will discuss with you the needs of your pet and customize the vaccine protocol to be more specific to them. A complete physical exam is done on the patient to be sure we are vaccinating a healthy animal; the client is also encouraged to express any concerns they may have. A fecal test is highly recommended; this is how we learn if your pet is carrying any parasites, which have the potential to be passed onto other pets they have contact with as well as human family member.
For our geriatric patients, our health care team recommends an exam every 6 months. As pets get older, it is important to keep on top of their health status, as illnesses and diseases have the potential to progress very quickly in a year. Semi-annual exams are also especially important for patients who are on long-term medication. It is very important to recheck blood work for them, to be sure that medication doses do not need to be adjusted, and to see how internal organs are functioning.