Routine wellness exams - or vet checkups - can help to provide your pet with the best possible chance at a long and healthy life, but what does a routine exam entail? Today our Boulder County vets explain what happens when you bring your pet in for a vet checkup.
Your Pet's Physical Checkup
When you bring your dog or cat to our Boulder County veterinary clinic for a checkup, your veterinarian will review your pet's medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you may 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
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- 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
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- 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
- 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
All of these tests are designed to detect early warning signs of any health issues your pet may be experiencing. Because our dogs and cats cannot tell us when they are in pain, these tests and checks can help you determine how your pet is feeling in general.
Ensuring Vaccines Are Up To Date
Vaccines are intended to protect your dog or cat from common, contagious, and potentially fatal diseases. The vaccines recommended for your dog or cat will be determined by where you live and the lifestyle of your pet.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are typically recommended for pets who come into contact with other animals regularly. Check out our vaccine schedule to learn more about the vaccines we recommend for your pet.
Adult pets will require booster shots regularly to maintain their disease resistance. Boosters are typically administered once a year or every three years. Your veterinarian will notify you when your dog or cat's booster shots are due.
Preventing Parasitic Diseases & Conditions
Parasites pose a serious health risk to Boulder County pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can infiltrate your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions; therefore, your veterinarian will advise you on how to keep parasites at bay. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed on from pets to their owners!
For us to perform a fecal exam, you may have been asked to bring in a sample of your pet's stool. Fecals allow our veterinary team to examine your dog's stool for signs of common intestinal parasites that would otherwise be difficult to detect.
Heartworm testing may also be performed as part of your pet's wellness examination. This test allows your veterinarian to look for the earliest signs of heartworm disease in your pet's blood. If your pet has contracted this serious parasitic condition, detecting it as soon as possible gives them the best chance of a successful treatment outcome.
Parasite prevention can help keep your pet safe from conditions like:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Weighing Up The Benefits
We understand that taking your pet to the vet when they appear to be perfectly healthy may seem like an unnecessary expense, but routine checkups assist your pet's team of veterinary professionals in detecting signs of disease in the earliest stages when many conditions are easiest to treat, as well as providing your pet with the very best in preventive care - from vaccines to parasite prevention medications. Regularly scheduled wellness exams will save you money when compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders, or diseases (especially heartworm).
Not only that, but they will ensure that your pet suffers as little discomfort or pain as possible as a result of any health issues they may be experiencing. The earlier a medical problem is discovered, 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.