Wellness for Dogs and Cats

The AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) have teamed up to form the Partnership for Preventative Healthcare. The mission of the Partnership is to ensure that pets receive the preventative healthcare they deserve through regular veterinary visits.

Preventative care is necessary for the life-long health of your pets; from annual to semi-annual wellness exams, vaccines, blood work, parasite prevention, and more.

Wellness exams allow our veterinarians to detect illness early. In many cases you may never realize there may be something wrong with your pet. During a routine wellness exam our veterinarians check all of the following:

Eyes: They look for signs of disease, discharge or tearing, abnormal movement or reaction to light. Early on the doctor can catch signs of many eye problems before it can cause any pain or discomfort to your pet.

Ears: the veterinarian will check for early symptoms of an ear infection or ear mites. Often times the ears can be painful, tender, red, swollen, have discharge or have an odor that you may never notice until it becomes a full-fledged infection requiring additional treatment.

Mouth: The doctor will check for signs of periodontal disease in the teeth and gums and bad breath. Based on what is found the doctor may recommend a routine dental cleaning in order to treat the mouth and check for further problems while your pet is under sedation. (Did you know?: the bacteria that builds up in your pet's mouth constantly runs into his or her blood stream? This creates many health issues for your pet and can severely damage several internal organs in the process!)

Heart: During an exam the veterinarian will listen to the heart and check for any weak or abnormal sounds, a fast or slow heart rate, and irregular beats. Early detection of heart disease is extremely important for all cats and dogs.

Lungs: At the same time the doctor is listening to the heart, he or she will also check the lungs. Wheezing, crackling, or other abnormal sounds will be checked for.

Lymph nodes & Thyroid gland: You may often notice the veterinarian feeling around your pet’s jaw and throat area. They are checking for irregularities or changes in size of your pet’s lymph nodes and thyroid gland. Swollen lymph nodes can be an early sign of certain types of cancers and other diseases, and an enlarged thyroid gland can be an early sign of thyroid disease.

Abdomen: The doctor will palpate your pet’s abdomen, sometimes this may appear uncomfortable to the pet, to check for irregularities in the liver, spleen, kidneys, or bladder. He or she is also checking for masses or tumors that could be present and otherwise undetectable by the naked eye.

Base of tail: Here the veterinarian is checking for any abnormalities in the anal glands, presence of fecal mats in the fur, evidence of soft stool, growths, and parasites (tapeworm segments, flea dirt, etc.).

Legs: The doctor will check for limited range of motion in the limbs, signs of pain or discomfort, and grinding or popping sounds in the joints. This is a very important part of the exam as many dogs and cats do not show obvious outward signs of pain, and this is often the case with older dogs and cats with arthritis.

Coat, Skin, and Nails: Your pet will be checked for a poor overall quality of coat, lumps and bumps, rashes, areas of hair loss or excessive dander, matted or saliva stained fur, fleas and ticks, callouses, overgrown or ingrown toenails, and dehydration.

Once a physical exam is complete our doctors have a great picture of the overall health of your pet and can then make preventative recommendations based on that information. This is why yearly or twice yearly exams (for older patients) are extremely important to the wellbeing of all pets in your household. Early detection of disease allows us to treat early and avoid major and expensive complications down the line.

To schedule your pet’s next check-up give us a call at either office or click here to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

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