A wellness exam ensures that your pet remains healthy and can help us make an early diagnosis should your pet exhibit any early symptoms of an illness. Early treatment for an illness or condition can have a significant effect on your pet’s life span and quality of life.
Pets are prone to develop certain diseases and health conditions at different stages of their lives. As a result, we make the following recommendations for wellness exams based on age:
- Puppies and kittens (0-1 year old): in most cases, you should schedule a wellness exam for your puppy or kitten every three to four weeks for vaccinations and to be screened for developing illnesses. Vaccinations may include rabies and distemper-parvo shots. If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of cough, influenza or Lyme Disease, additional vaccinations may be recommended.
- Adult dogs and cats (1-7 years old): we recommend a once a year wellness exam for adult pets. An annual wellness exam typically includes heartworm tests and other tests based on what your veterinarian finds during your pet’s exam. Booster shots for rabies and distemper-parvo vaccinations are recommended every three years. Note that there are state laws that mandate the frequency of rabies shots. For more information, speak to your veterinarian.
- Older dogs and cats (7 years old and older): for pets seven years old or older, we recommend a wellness exam every six months. Pets in this age range may develop health conditions as they age, including vision problems, dementia, gum disease, kidney disease, blindness, cancer or diabetes.
What To Expect?
Before You Arrive
Your veterinarian may have special instructions for you to follow prior to your pet’s wellness exam. These may include collecting and bringing in a urine or stool sample or making you’re your pet fasts prior to the wellness exam. Your veterinarian may also ask questions about your pet’s overall health, behaviors and eating habits in order to prepare for your pet’s exam.
Questions You'll Be Asked
During your pet’s wellness exam, your veterinarian will ask you questions about your pet’s diet, activity level, mood, behavior, and bowel movements and urination.
Your veterinarian will listen to your pet’s heart and lungs and examine specific parts of your pet’s body, including:
Head, hind leg and neck lymph nodes
Abdomen (to feel whether pressing on the abdomen causes pain in the kidneys, spleen, bladder, liver, intestines and/or stomach)
Hind legs for pulse
Your vet will observe your pet’s general appearance by watching to see how your pet walks, checking your pet’s weight and by examining your pet’s skin and coat for dryness, hair loss or dandruff.
Our doctors will also check your pet’s ears, eyes, and mouth for redness, discharge, lumps and other abnormalities. We’ll check your pet for any thickening or hair loss around the ears, any discharge and pay particular attention to your pet’s mouth and teeth, looking for signs of mouth ulcers and/or periodontal disease.
Based on the examination and observations of your pet, your veterinarian may order the following diagnostic screening tests:
• Complete blood count (CBC)
• Biochemistry profile
• Thyroid hormone testing
• Other testing