Routine wellness exams give your pet cat or dog their best chance at living a long happy and healthy life. Our Charlotte vets explain the importance of these checkups and break down the process of a routine exam.
Your Pet's Routine Exam
When you bring your dog or cat into our Quail Hollow Veterinary Hospital veterinary clinic for a wellness exam, one of our vets will review your pet's medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
All of these tests are meant to detect signs of any health problems your pet may be experiencing. Since our dogs and cats can't tell us when they are uncomfortable, these tests and checks help to determine how your furry friend is generally feeling.
Keeping Vaccines Current
During your pet's routine exams, your vet will be able to ensure that your companion is up to date on their vaccinations which is a key component of your pet's preventive care.
Vaccines are designed to protect your four-legged friend against common, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. The vaccines recommended for your dog or cat will be based on where you live and your pet's lifestyle.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for pets that are regularly in contact with other animals. To find out more about the vaccines recommended for your pet checkout our vaccine schedule.
Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots regularly to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases, boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your vet will be sure to let you know when your dog or cat's booster shots are due.
Preventing Parasitic Diseases & Conditions
Parasites are a serious health threat to Charlotte pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can invade your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, that's why your vet will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your four-legged friend. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!
You may have been asked to bring in a sample of your pet's stool for us to perform a fecal exam. Fecals allow our vet to examine your dog's stool for signs of common intestinal parasites which would be very difficult to detect otherwise.
Heartworm testing may also be a part of your pet's annual checkup. This test allows your vet to examine your animal's blood for the earliest signs of heartworm disease. Detecting heartworm as early as possible provides your pet with the best possible chance of a good treatment outcome if they have contracted this serious parasitic condition.
Parasite prevention can help to protect your dog or cat from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Preparing for Your Pet's Examination
If your cat or dog is getting ready for their first wellness exam, you should be as prepared as possible. If your veterinary office does not tell you while booking your appointment, ask them what you need to bring with you (vaccination or adoption records, stool or urine sample, etc.).
Your pet may be a bit nervous and seem skittish when you arrive for your exam, which is completely understandable. In this case, you may want to bring someone with you to help manage your pet or arrive with them in a crate.
Here is a list of a few things you may be expected to bring:
- Crate and/or leash
- Important documentation
- Stool and/or urine sample
- Any questions you may have about your pet
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.