Animal Wellness Exams

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Your pet ages six to ten years for every year that you age. Because of this, it’s important that he or she receive an animal wellness exam consistently to ensure optimal health. Shackleford Road of Little Rock recommends that your middle-aged or senior pet receives this comprehensive exam twice yearly to help your feline and canine families stay together as long as possible. During the early months, it’s advised that your pet see a veterinarian every month, whereas the average healthy adult animal can anticipate a once-yearly check-up.

What is an Annual Pet Exam?

An animal wellness exam provides an excellent opportunity for your veterinarian to conduct a thorough physical examination, and develop a health profile for your pet.  This information will help us proactively identify medical problems and any other issue that can affect your pet’s health and quality of life.  It also can help detect early signs of illness and address health issues before they progress.

The annual pet exam looks at all of your pet’s major body systems, from head to tail. Some of the specific things you can expect include:

  • Weight check — At each visit, your pet will be weighed to make sure she’s at a healthy weight. You may receive nutritional counseling or exercise suggestions depending on the outcome.
  • Nose and mouth — The veterinarian will examine your pet’s nose for injuries, abnormal growths or excessive discharge. Your pet’s mouth will also be examined to check for any dental health concerns, such as periodontal disease.
  • Skin, fur and eyes — During the animal wellness exam, the vet will look at the structure of the eyes and check for abnormal responses to light, discharge or redness. The pet’s skin and coat will also be examined since it is a great indicator of overall health.
  • Heart and lungs — Using a stethoscope, the doctor will listen for heart murmurs and abnormal sounds.
  • Ears — The veterinarian looks at the ear flaps, ear canals and ear drums for redness, discharge, growths or the appearance of any parasites or mites.

If your pet is due for any vaccinations, this will also take place during the annual pet exam. Laboratory work, such as testing for heartworms or kidney functioning, may also take place.

Why Does the Veterinary Clinic Recommend this Every Year?

Since pets cannot tell us what they are feeling, disease and illness are often present before humans recognize them. Moreover, as part of their survival instinct, many animals hide the early signs of diseases. The result is that an illness must be critically advanced before any obvious signs are apparent. Some early warning signs are often evident to a veterinarian during an animal wellness exam, however.

When a disease or condition is noticed in its early stages, steps can often be taken to prevent irreversible damage, thereby increasing the chances of successful outcome. Additionally, combating problems before they escalate to the point that you notice them is often far less time-intensive and costly than waiting until it impacts the pet’s quality of life.