Through routine wellness examinations, the veterinarian is able to evaluate your individual risk level for specific communicable diseases and recommend an appropriate vaccination regimen. Maintaining a routine schedule of physical examinations and vaccinations provide your pet with the best possible resistance to common diseases they may encounter.
Just like for you, regular physical examinations are important for your pet. At yearly examinations, your pet will have a complete physical examination, evaluating your pet’s physical well-being. We understand that your pet’s role in the family includes much more than a good set of vital statistics. We will also cover tick/heartworm/flea control, any behavior issues, give nutritional recommendations, discuss grooming, exercise, training, and more.
Your pet will receive comprehensive exam which consists of evaluating and examining the following parameters in detail:
- Monitor weight for significant changes
- Evaluate body condition and make dietary recommendations if necessary
- Check skin for fleas, ticks and other external parasites as well as infections, tumors or dermatitis
- Check coat quality ensuring it is healthy and well groomed and not dull, dry or brittle
- Assess cardiovascular function, diagnosing heart murmurs, irregular heartbeats
- Evaluate respiratory function checking for abnormal lung sounds
- Oral exam, evaluating teeth, tongue and palate as well as evaluating gum condition and mucous membrane color
- Examine eyes for development of cataracts, glaucoma, ulcers, inflammation or other ocular disorders
- Examine ears for mites, infection or inflammation
- Check nose, nasal passages and throat for signs of upper respiratory disease or allergies
- Abdominal palpation to detect abnormal intestine, kidney, liver or spleen size, as well as detect large tumors from these organs
- Examine rectal/anal sac condition if warranted
- Assess lymphatic system by palpating thyroid and lymph nodes for signs of infection or tumors
- Assess basic neurological system
- Evaluate the musculoskeletal system, assessing the condition of muscles, legs, joints and spine
- Discuss behavior and socialization progress and make recommendations as needed
- Check for internal parasites by running a fecal exam
At each exam, the technicians and veterinarian will also discuss parasite control, behavior issues, nutritional recommendations, as well as discussing grooming, exercise, training, and more, as well as any individualized questions you may have on your own pet.
In addition to a yearly veterinary examination, and providing a quality diet and loving environment, prevention of infectious diseases is one of the most important steps you can take to keep your pet disease free. The veterinarian will be able to discuss with you an appropriate vaccination and preventive health program, depending upon your pet’s individual exposure and risk factors. There is a growing movement of concerned pet owner’s who are leary of the potential risks of overvaccination. As such, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of titer testing so that you can make an informed decision.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines contain small quantities of altered viruses, bacteria, or other disease-causing organisms. When administered, they stimulate your pet’s immune system to produce disease-fighting cells and protein – or antibodies – to protect against disease.
When should my pet be vaccinated?
Generally, the immunity that a young pet has at birth begins to diminish after 6-9 weeks. It is then usually time to begin the initial vaccinations, with several boosters following over the next 12 weeks. Thereafter, your dog or cat may require annual vaccinations for the rest of his/her life. It is possible to test your pet’s blood for titers to reveal their antibody status. These results are then interpreted in an attempt to determine if the pet is currently protected against a specific infectious disease or if the pet may require immunization.
During each exam with your pet, the veterinarian will obtain a complete history and perform a detailed physical examination. While these can provide us with important information in regards to your pet’s healthy, it is impossible to understand the complete physiological picture. We can further obtain a great deal of information of internal organ function by running a few basic blood tests. In order to understand and evaluate your pet’s “overall” health, it is crucial to derive additional information from Wellness blood testing. For more information in Wellness Testing, please feel free to contact a Hunter PetCare Veterinary Technician.
If your pet is over 7 years old, please go to our special Geriatric Wellness section.