As we all know, pets age faster than humans. This makes annual physical examinations equivalent to seeing your doctor only every few years. Pets are masters at hiding illness, so a routine examination by the veterinarian may reveal a concern that wasn't previously recognized.
During a physical examination, the veterinarian will check your dog or cat from nose to tail. Eyes, ears, mouth and nose are examined for irritation, discharge, and foul odors. Lymph nodes are assessed for swelling, which could indicate infection. The veterinarian will feel of your pet's abdomen, checking the size and location of your pets internal organs (liver, spleen, intestines, bladder, kidneys, and stomach) and feeling for any abnormalities that could indicate an issue. Skin and hair coat are examined, looking for the presence of external parasites, growths, infections, or hair loss. The veterinarian will also listen to your pet's heart and lungs for a murmur, arrhythmia, or any crackles, wheezes, or other unusual sounds.
Should the veterinarian find anything amiss, additional diagnostics may be recommended. Labwork, radiographs, or referral for advanced testing may be indicated.
Routine physical examinations can help detect problems before they become major issues. Many diseases can be more effectively managed when caught early, and early detection of some cancerous tumors may prevent their spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). We recommend yearly physical examinations for all pets, plus appropriate vaccinations and parasite screenings. We also recommend all pets be on a lifestyle-appropriate parasite control regimen - which means year-round heartworm prevention for dogs and cats, and ideally, year-round flea and tick prevention for dogs and cats. Our climate is hospitable to parasites 12 months a year, so protection is necessary year-round as well!