Did you know that your pet being examined by his veterinarian once every year is the equivalent of us seeing our regular doctor once every 5 years? Dogs & cats age about 5 times faster than we do. This means their health problems develop at a much faster pace than ours. The most important part of your pet's health care program is a thorough, detailed physical examination at least every 6 months.
It's even more important for puppies and kittens to receive a thorough exam each time they come in for routine puppy or kitten vaccines. Your veterinarian will check for birth defects, developmental concerns, retained baby teeth, retained testicles, and hernias, among other concerns.--as well as help advise you on housetraining, leash training, feeding schedulesand all the millions of questions that come up when you're raising a puppy or kitten.
Your pet's physical examination includes:
· checking all vital signs
· examining the teeth/eyes/ears
· listening to the heart & lungs
· palpating the abdomen for any abnormalities
· searching for lumps, bumps, enlarged lymph nodes
· checking the skin and haircoat
· evaluating the pet for gait abnormalities and arthritis.
Another equally important part of your pet's examination is the interview with you, his owner. You know your pet better than anyone else, so you are the best source of information for his usual daily habits:
· how much is he eating, drinking, urinating, defecating?
· Does he still play with his toys?
· Have you noticed an odor lately?
· How is his housetraining?
· Can he still go up the stairs/jump on the bed/jump in the car?
Our owner questionnaire has many more questions similar to the above list. Armed with this information, plus the information from the physical exam, the doctors of Windmill Animal Hospital can diagnose health problems in your pet early, which means a longer, more comfortable life for your pet, more peace of mind for you, and lower veterinary bills!
Recheck examinations are almost as important as the original exam. The recheck exam, and second interview with you, are how the doctors at Windmill Animal Hospital determine if the prescribed treatment plan is delivering the desired results, or if adjustments need to be made.
On a final note, you may be curious about why we must examine your pet before administering vaccinations. Texas law requires us to establish that your pet is healthy enough to receive vaccines before we administer them. If your pet is running a fever, has an infection, or is sick in any way, he will NOT be able to respond properly to the vaccination(s) by producing the desired antibodies. This means he will not be resistant to what he's been vaccinated against, including Rabies. Would you want to risk this? We won't!