When you take your pet to the vet for an annual visit, you're probably thinking the most important parts are vaccinations, tests, blood work, or prescription medication renewals. All of these are vital pieces of what your veterinarian does to keep your pet healthy, but often the most important aspect of a visit is the physical exam. Examining your pet's body gives your veterinarian a clear picture of overall health and helps him or her make quality decisions for your pet's care.
What Happens During a Pet's Physical Examination
If you're wondering what your vet is accomplishing while petting, prodding, massaging, and carefully examining your dog or cat, here's the scoop.
- Vital signs: Your vet will start your pet's exam the same way your doctor would begin a visit with you: weight, temperature, pulse, and respiratory rates. These are important clues that can tell your vet a lot about your pet's health.
- Behavioral and physical signs: Your vet will be looking for subtle signs as well. Is your pet reacting normally to people in the room? Is your pet able to see and hear well? Does his or her body and coat look healthy?
- Visual exam: If your pet cooperates, your vet will thoroughly examine his or her ears, nose, mouth, and eyes for any signs of health problems. Even a smell could tip your vet off to a problem you may not have noticed yet.
- The massage: You'll see your vet palpating your pet's head, chest, neck, abdomen, legs, feet, and hindquarters. This is your veterinarian checking for lumps, bumps, skin health, and any indications of pain from your pet.
- Heart and lungs: Finally, your vet will check your pet's heart and respiratory health with a stethoscope, listening carefully for abnormalities, heart problems, and breathing rates.
We want your experience during your pet's exam to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. If you have any further questions about what will happen at your pet's annual wellness check-up, feel free to call us anytime.