Like humans, your pet should have an annual physical exam once they reach adulthood. Even if your pet seems healthy, these exams can ensure your pet remains healthy. Most veterinarians have a standard checklist for these exams. Here are some things to expect during an annual physical exam for pets and reasons your pet should have one.
Procedures Performed During the Exam
The annual physical exam consists of checking various parts of your pet's body for potential problems. The examination is a good time to bring up your concerns. Keep a list of things you think the veterinarian should pay extra attention to. During an examination, the veterinarian may check for some of these standard issues.
Overall Health and Condition
The veterinarian will look for general mobility issues, energy levels, and signs of injury. They will also check the pulse and listen to the lungs.
Coat and Skin Condition
A closer examination of the skin and coat may reveal sores, allergy issues, or nutritional problems. The veterinarian may also check for parasites and fungal issues like ringworm.
Nose, Eye, and Ear Checks
Nose and ear checks help find infections and blockages. The veterinarian may perform a more thorough examination of the nose if your dog is a brachycephalic breed. These breeds often have sinus issues that restrict breathing.
Internal Issues Check
The veterinarian may check your dog's abdomen for tenderness and to ensure there are no organ abnormalities. Your dog may also receive a lymph node check.
Many vaccines, like the rabies vaccine, need a booster every year. Your pet may also receive vaccines based on regional outbreaks.
If your veterinarian spots something during an exam, they may request other tests. For example, your pet may be tested and treated for internal parasites like tapeworm and heartworm.
Reasons for an Annual Physical Exam for Pets
When you have an annual physical exam for your pet each year, your veterinarian can better keep track of your pet's health. They will be able to compare each exam with the previous one to detect possible declines. You may need to bring your pet in more often if they are still a puppy or your dog has chronic health issues.
If your pet hasn't had their annual physical exam, visit an animal care practitioner as soon as possible. When you visit the veterinarian, be sure to bring along your dog's records, especially when you visit a new facility.