Routinely schedule wellness exams - or vet checkups - can help to give your pet the best possible chance for a long, happy and healthy life. But, what does a routine exam entail? Here, our Groton vets explain what happens when you bring your pet in to see us for a routine checkup.
Your Pet's Physical Checkup
When bringing your dog or cat in to see our Groton clinic for their veterinary checkup, your vet will review your pet's medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage or decay
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- 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
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
These tests are intended to detect signs of health issues that your pet may be experiencing. Since our dogs and cats aren't able to tell us when they are uncomfortable, these checks and tests can help to determine how your four-legged friend is generally feeling.
Ensuring Vaccines Are Up To Date
Vaccines are designed to protect your cat or dog against contagious, common and possibly even life-threatening diseases. The vaccines that our vets will recommend for your cat or dog will depend on where you live and your companion's lifestyle.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet checkout our vaccine schedule.
Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots' on a regular basis in order to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your vet will be sure to let you know when your dog or cat's booster shots are due.
Preventing Parasitic Diseases & Conditions
Parasites are a health threat to Groton pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that are able to invade your pet's body and cause them to develop potentially fatal conditions. Because of this, your vet will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your companion's body. It's important that you know that some of these parasites can even be passed from your pet to you or other people living in a home with an infected pet.
You may have been asked to bring in a sample of your pet's stool in order for us to perform a fecal exam. Fecals allow our veterinary team to examine your dog's stool for signs of common intestinal parasites which would be very difficult to detect otherwise.
Heartworm testing may also be a part of your pet's wellness exam. This test allows your vet to examine your animal's blood for the earliest signs of heartworm disease. Detecting heartworm as early as possible provides your pet with their best possible chance of a good treatment outcome if they have contracted this serious parasitic condition.
Parasite prevention can help to protect your pet from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Weighing Up The Benefits
We know that bringing your pet to see our vets when they seem perfectly healthy may feel like an unnecessary expense but routine checkups help your pet's team of veterinary professionals to detect the signs of disease in its earliest stages when many conditions are the easiest to treat. They also provide your pet with the vet best in preventive care, ranging from vaccines to parasite prevention medication.
When compared ot treated diseases, parasitic infections or disorders in their more advanced stages, though, routinely scheduled wellness exams will save you money.
Not only that, but they will make sure your pet experiences a minimal amount of discomfort or pain from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.