Many of us families will have a pet (or several!) with whom we share our lives. Not only are they a welcome companion in our family units, but they help teach children how to care for others as well as compassion and responsibility. They can also be great fun to play with.
Part of our responsibility of being a pet’s owner is to make sure they’re healthy, fit, and comfortable. So every responsible owner should make sure that they take their dog, cat, or any other small pet friend to the vet every year to check they’re happy and doing well.
Here’s what you should expect to happen during a typical annual vet visit.
Visiting a veterinarian will be a worthwhile experience for you and your pet. Not only will you know if they’re fit and healthy, but you can take steps to ensure they are taking the correct medicines to either prevent certain diseases or to make them feel better – meaning you can spend more time enjoying your pet.
A vet will first do a physical exam.
Every good exam should include using a stethoscope to listen to the lungs and heart. The first way to get information on your pet’s heart – such as rhythm or valve problems – is to hear it.
If any deviation from normal is detected, then further investigation is a good idea.
Your vet should also perform a careful evaluation of your pet’s stomach. This is when conditions such as bladder stones or undiscovered tumors can be found.
Feeling what’s going on inside your pet is as important as feeling what’s on the outside.
Mouth and eyes
A look inside your pet’s mouth is a must, too – if they’re willing! The mouth can harbor all sorts of surprises, and your pet may not show any signs of discomfort even with serious oral abnormalities.
The eyes will also be checked for cataracts or inflammation
Other general check-ups
Paws and toes will be examined, too, and any long claws will be trimmed. Your vet will also have a look in your pet’s ears for infections, and check their coats and skin – an excellent indicator of your pet’s health status.
Your vet may also take your pet’s temperature. Every so often, a pet that seems to be healthy will tip off your vet that something isn’t quite right – just by having an elevated temperature.
Your vet will also use your appointment to confirm your pet is up to date with vaccinations. Making sure your furry friend is vaccinated correctly is important to help protect their health, as well as to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases.
Your pet can have vaccines to immunize them against conditions such as rabies, hepatitis, Lyme disease, chlamydia, and feline leukemia.
Depending on the age and condition of your pet, your vet may suggest carrying out some diagnostic screenings. These can include blood counts, testing for heartworms, testing feces for parasites, urinalysis, plus x-rays of the abdomen or the whole body.