Why an Annual Veterinary Checkup For Every Dogs is Important
A meticulous physical exam is the absolute cornerstone of veterinary medicine, and a good vet can learn a lot from it. Not only can we potentially gain information on the specific concern that the pet is being brought in for, but we can catch a lot of information of problems the owner wasn't aware of. A physical exam is highly recommended once a year for all pets.
A veterinarian is trained to examine your pet and detect abnormalities. They will look at the eyes, ears and mouth to make sure everything looks normal. They will listen to their heart and lungs to make sure they sound normal. They will feel the abdomen to make sure everything feels normal. They will check the lymph nodes to make sure they are not enlarged and they will often check the limbs to make sure everything is normal.
How to Get the Most out of Your Vet Exam
A thorough examination takes time, don't bring an ill animal to the clinic and then get frustrated if you are there for more than 30 minutes. If you are the primary caretaker of the pet make the time to come in or write a list.
Do not send the pet in with a teenager or spouse that can't give a proper history. If you have all the questions and can't come in then write them down. Asking the doctor to do the entire exam for you by telephone is disrespectful. Calling the doctor back to review the entire exam because you don't like the explanations you received from your spouse or child is disrespectful. If you want to be in charge of the pet's care decisions then you need to make the time to bring the pet in.
Veterinary Exams for Puppies
The first thing you should do for your puppy is to get a wellness exam and get those vaccines started. If you start early, you will find out if there are any concerning issues to watch for and your vet will get a baseline. Puppy exams are crucial. This is where we identify birth defects, behavioral issues and have the opportunity to discuss important preventative measures such as tooth brushing, flea/tick/heartworm control. This is your opportunity to discuss training issues or bring up things you read on the internet to find out if they are accurate.
Veterinary Exams for Senior Dogs
Senior dogs should have two veterinary exams per year to monitor for any changes of concern as they are aging. These exams are vital to pick up any subtle changes including mobility changes. It's especially important for seniors due to the fact that more and more health problems develop as they age. Heart disease, metabolic problems, osteoarthritis, liver disease, kidney disease, hormonal disease, dental disease etc. All of these can be treated with high success rates if they're diagnosed early, and can lead to death in a matter of hours if you wait until symptoms appear. This is particularly true for heart, kidneys and liver, which have extremely big compensatory potential, and once they show symptoms they're already in very very bad state. For instance kidneys show symptoms only after 75% of kidney tissue is damaged, liver is the same, you can have small changes in liver chemistry for years, without any symptoms and then have liver crash in a day. Many of these problems can be prevented or at least their effects reduced and delayed by early recognition and changes in diet, lifestyle, medication, supplementation etc.