An annual physical exam for pets is an important part of the preventative care that you should be providing your dog. Your veterinarian will perform a full examination that is designed to catch any potential health concerns early when they are still treatable.
1. Overall Appearance
Most exams begin with a basic check of your pet's overall appearance. This includes examining the condition of your dog's coat, looking for any skin irritations, and verifying that your dog seems alert and in apparent good health. Your vet understands if the pup is nervous, so this energy won't affect the results of this part of the exam.
2. Baseline Measurements
Baseline measurements include a temperature check, blood pressure reading, weight, heart rate, and oxygen levels. Lymph nodes are also felt to make sure there is no swelling that could indicate a hidden infection. These are compared against what is considered the normal baseline reading for an animal of your dog's age and breed. These readings can be one of the most important parts of the exam, as they are used as a preliminary diagnostic tool for many health concerns.
3. Eyes, Ear, Nose, and Throat
The vet then moves on to the "head" exam. They will examine your dog's eyes for any signs of vision loss, damage, or cataracts. Ears are examined and hearing is checked. They will then move on to the nose and throat, checking for things like obstructions or polyps. While in the mouth, your vet will also check the teeth to make sure there are no signs of infection or decay that may need to be addressed.
4. Respiratory System
The stethoscope comes out and your vet will listen to your dog's breathing and heart. They are listening for steady breathing with no wheezing or rattling, as well as ensuring that the heart is beating evenly with no palpitations or murmurs.
5. Digestive System
The digestive system exam primarily consists of palpitating the abdomen to make sure everything feels as it should with no blockages or enlargements. You will also be questioned about your dog's feeding and eliminating habits. This check may also include a rectal check in older dogs, to make sure there are no blockages of glands or dangerous growths.
Your vet may also perform blood tests or additional examinations, depending on your pet's age and health history. Call a local vet to schedule a physical exam for pets today.