As a pet owner, you probably know the importance of having your furry, feathered, or scaled loved one having an examination by a veterinarian every 6-12 months. During each physical examination with us, our vet will communicate findings throughout the appointment. But, have you ever wondered exactly what your vet is checking during the examination and why?
Your pet’s eyes: Using an ophthalmoscope, your vet will check the structures within your pet’s eyes as well as the areas/tissues surrounding the eyes for any abnormalities such as lenticular sclerosis (aging change), cataracts, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the tissues surrounding the eyes), excessive discharge, lumps growing on eyelids, etc.
Your pet’s nose: A visual examination of your pet’s nose is performed to check if there is any unusual discharge or growths. Owners are also asked if there has been any excessive sneezing.
Your pet’s ears: Your vet will use an otoscope with an attached tip to look into your pet’s ear canal. Excessive debris or redness can indicate a possible ear infection.
Your pet’s mucous membranes: During an oral examination, your vet will check the colour of your pet’s gums to ensure that they are pink, moist and healthy (if they are pale, yellow or blue in colour, or feel tacky to the touch, this is a concern)
Your pet’s teeth and gums: Further into the oral examination, your pet’s doctor will check the health of their teeth and gums – assessing any possible problems with tartar, gingivitis, cavities or resportive lesions and/or infection, etc.
Your pet’s heart: Using a stethoscope, your vet will listen to your pet’s heart rate and check for any abnormalities such as heart murmurs, a heart rate that is too fast or too slow, or any unusual rhythm, etc.
Your pet’s lungs: Also using a stethoscope, the doctor will listen to make sure your pet’s lungs sound clear and free of any wheezing or abnormal breath sounds.
Your pet’s abdomen: Using her hands to palpate your pet’s abdomen, the vet can check to see if there is any obvious discomfort within the abdomen and can usually palpate some of your pet’s organs for irregularity or possible masses.
Your pet’s lymph nodes: Your vet will check various lymph nodes over your pet’s body for any enlargement.
Your pet’s coat and skin: Your vet will visually check your pet’s coat and skin for any dryness, skin infection, lumps or external parasites (such as fleas)
Your pet’s joints: Your pet’s doctor will check the range of motion in your pet’s hips and legs, check for any signs of clicking, grinding or discomfort, etc.
Your pet’s overall appearance: Your vet will give your pet a Body Condition Score (BCS) during their visit to assess their overall appearance (usually graded out of 5, with 3 out of 5 being the ideal body condition).
If you haven’t read Have you ever wondered…? Pt 1 Blood Collection, click here!