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What to Expect During A Pet Wellness Exam

What to Expect During A Pet Wellness Exam

Regularly attending wellness exams can contribute to the overall health and happiness of your beloved pet. In this article, our Fort Collins vets tell you what you can expect in a routine pet wellness exam.

Why should I bring my healthy pet to the vet?

Even when your pet appears to be perfectly healthy, scheduling regular wellness exams with your veterinarian is an excellent proactive measure to ensure their optimal health and well-being. These checkups, conducted a few times a year, offer invaluable opportunities for your veterinarian to closely monitor your companion's overall health status.

By bringing your healthy pet to routine wellness exams, you provide your veterinarian with a baseline for comparison. This allows them to track any changes in your pet's health over time, even if they are subtle or not immediately noticeable to you as the owner. Detecting such changes early on can be instrumental in identifying potential health issues before they progress into more serious conditions.

How often should my pet have a wellness exam?

The frequency of wellness examinations for your pet should be determined based on their age and medical history.

If your pet is currently in good health but has a past medical condition, it is advisable to schedule wellness exams with your veterinarian twice a year or more. This regularity ensures that any potential health issues are promptly identified and addressed, helping to maintain their overall well-being. Your veterinarian will provide guidance on the appropriate frequency of these exams based on your pet's specific needs.

Puppies and kittens, being more vulnerable to diseases compared to adult pets, require extra attention in their early stages of life. As a result, your veterinarian may recommend monthly wellness exams during the first few months of their life. This increased frequency allows for close monitoring of their growth, development, and early detection of any potential health concerns.

For adult dogs and cats with no prior medical conditions, an annual wellness exam is generally recommended. However, certain categories of pets, such as senior dogs, senior cats, and giant breed dogs, are at a higher risk of developing various health conditions as they age. To ensure early detection and timely intervention, it is often advisable for these pets to undergo wellness exams twice a year. This closer monitoring allows for the identification of any subtle changes or signs of illness, enabling appropriate measures to be taken promptly.

What does a wellness examination for pets involve?

When you do come to a wellness exam with one of our Broadway Animal Hospital vets, we will review your pet's medical history with you and speak with you about any concerns you might have. We might also ask about your pet's diet, exercise routine, lifestyle, thirst levels, urination bowel movements and general behavior. 

In some cases, you will also be asked to bring a fresh sample of your pet's feces in order to conduct a fecal exam. Fecal exams, or fecals, help your vet identify the presence of intestinal parasites in your pet which are otherwise very difficult to detect. 

Next your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your pet which will typically include the following, (and often much more):

  • Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
  • Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
  • Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
  • Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
  • Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
  • Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
  • Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
  • Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
  • Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
  • Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain

If your vet doesn't find any issues during the wellness exam, the list of checks and tests they have to run will breeze by. Your vet may even maintain a conversation with you as they go through the process, If they do detect something, however, they will be sure to take the time to explain what they have noticed and recommend what the next steps or treatments would be. 

Annual vaccinations will also be given at your pet's wellness exam, based upon the appropriate schedule for your animal.

Additional Wellness Testing Recommended for Pets

In addition to the basics of the wellness examination, your vet may also recommend additional wellness testing for your pet. When you're making the decision about whether to have your pet undergo additional testing, it's important to remember that the early detection and treatment of a disease is always less expensive and less invasive than treating an advanced condition. 

The following tests screen for a range of conditions and can help detect the very earliest signs of illness before symptoms appear:

  • Thyroid hormone testing
  • Urinalysis
  • Complete blood count (CDC)

If your pet is a senior animal or a giant breed dog, more detailed diagnostic testing may also be recommended including x-rays and other imaging. 

At The End of The Wellness Exam

After conducting the necessary testing and examination, your veterinarian will proceed to administer your pet's annual vaccines, ensuring their immunization status is up to date. Following this, your veterinarian will take the time to discuss the findings of the exam with you, providing valuable insights and guidance.

If any signs of injury or illness were detected during the examination, your veterinarian will engage in a detailed conversation with you regarding their diagnosis and the available treatment options. They will explain the nature of the condition, its implications, and recommend suitable courses of action to address the issue and promote your pet's recovery. This open discussion allows you to fully understand the situation and actively participate in the decision-making process for your furry companion's healthcare.

Is your pet due for their annual wellness examination? At South Mesa Veterinary Hospital our compassionate veterinary team will help provide your pet with long-term health and happiness. Contact us today to book a Wellness Exam for your pet. 

New Patients Welcome

South Mesa Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients to our veterinary hospital! Our team is passionate about the health of Fort Collins pets. Reach out today to book your pet's first appointment.

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