Why Do You Want Your Pet to Have a Physical Exam?
Your pet can't always tell you where it hurts, or pets may mask their pain (a survival behavior in the wild). A comprehensive physical exam allows our doctor to compile a list of clues that can help uncover disease. Early detection and treatment are essential to avoid undue suffering and to prolong the quality and longevity of your pet's life. Watch for subtle changes in your pet's body weight, appetite, water intake, urination and bowel habits, as well as general attitude and activity level. These changes may signal liver, kidney or heart problems. Lumps and bumps under the skin may seem harmless, but can be cancerous. Ear infections, abscessed teeth and gum disease are common, painful conditions that may not become obvious until seriously advanced. A comprehensive physical exam is the basic tool our doctor uses to evaluate your pet's health status and to help you make informed decisions about the care of your special companion.
Good Health For Your Pet Includes a Periodic Blood Test
Early detection and treatment is essential for your pet's long and healthy life. A Blood Chemistry Screen can pick up a problem before it's caught on physical examination. Early detection of diabetes, kidney and liver disease, as well as a metabolic or hormonal imbalance is possible with blood screening.
How Often is a Comprehensive Physical Exam and Blood Screen Necessary?
Every species of animal ages at a different rate, and so does every breed of dog. Generally, large dogs age faster than small dogs. Ask your veterinarian how to plan for your individual pet's optimal life-span. Described here are the "average" life stages for a dog or cat and our advice for basic well care management.
THE FIRST YEARâ€¦Begin with a thorough physical examination to evaluate your pet's basic health and to detect congenital problems that need to be managed. Most animals are born healthy, but some pets are born with heart disease, bone abnormalities, hernias, etc. Some congenital conditions are not immediately evident, so youngsters benefit by frequent visits to their veterinarian. Young pets are especially susceptible to infectious diseases until they build up immunity. Immunization is accomplished through a series of vaccines beginning at six to seven weeks of age, completed at four to five months of age, and followed with boosters as recommended by your doctor.
ONE-YEAR-OLDâ€¦Physiologically similar to a thirteen-year-old human teenager! A lot can change in this year, so we advise a comprehensive physical exam to reassess your pet's health, to reevaluate life style and to be sure all preventive measures are in process.
TWO-YEAR-OLDâ€¦Similar to a young adult human in the early twenties. This is a good time to get a baseline blood profile. This is usually the peak time of a pet's health and we want to know the normal laboratory values for your particular pet. As your pet ages, we can compare blood values over time to help assess wellness and detect problems early.
THREE TO SEVENâ€¦We recommend an annual comprehensive physical exam and blood screen as indicated. This wellness program helps us determine your pet's physiological "individual normal," rather than compare him/her to an "average normal."
EIGHT TO TENâ€¦Midlife similar to a human between forty and fifty years old. At this time, organ systems begin to deteriorate, depending on life style and genes. The challenge for us is to detect and manage health problems so pets can enjoy life to the fullest. It is wise to step up the number of exams to twice a year, since pets age about five years for every human year.
ELEVEN PLUSâ€¦Their "golden years." We recommend semi-annual exams at a minimum. At this age, the rate of deterioration increases, but most pets will enjoy their senior years with proper management and care.
At What Other Times is a Comprehensive Physical Exam and Blood Screen Necessary?
Pets with disease conditions require more intense monitoring than healthy pets. Medical technology changes rapidly and visiting your veterinarian regularly ensures that your pet is receiving the very best, up-to-date care. Of course, a physical exam is appropriate anytime you suspect a problem.
If you observe these signs, please call us to schedule an appointment:
Weight gain or loss
Stool or urine accidents
Increase in sleep or restlessness
Difficulty walking or moving
Increase in thirst or urination
Dull, flaky hair coat
Lumps & bumps
Foul body odor
Crying or whimpering