All pet owners want their animal companion to have healthy, happy, and long lives. The annual physical exam is the foundation of a wellness care program that helps to ensure your pet’s health. The annual exam helps the doctors establish an ongoing relationship with your pet and to make baseline observations as your pet grows and matures. Additionally, early detection of problems noted during the annual physical can help to ensure prompt action and may prevent more serious consequences. Your technician and your veterinarian will examine your pet thoroughly and make recommendations for any necessary vaccinations, medical treatment, or preventative care. The annual physical exam includes assessment of the following areas:
History: The pet care team will ask you questions about your pet’s health history, diet, behavior, and any concerns that you might have. Your pet’s weight, temperature, and any other important information will be recorded in his or her permanent chart. Any substantial change up or down on weight could be an early indicator of disease, as can changes in eating or drinking.
Physical examination: Your veterinarian will check your pet’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin to note general characteristics as well as any changes or abnormalities that may be present. Special attention will be paid to dental health and preventative care. Your veterinarian will also listen to your pet’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope to ensure that they are functioning well. Your vet will do a thorough exam of your pet checking the abdomen, joints, muscles and lymph nodes, as well as check your pet’s reproductive system. We recommend spaying or neutering your pet between 4 and 6 months of age.
We recommend annual visits on healthy patients less than nine years of age. At age nine, the doctors adjust that recommendation to include semi-annual examinations. These twice a year exams allow for the earliest possible disease detection.
Laboratory testing: Annual screening for heartworm disease requires just a few drops of blood and can be quickly done at the annual physical exam. An annual fecal exam to screen for internal parasites is also recommended. This protects pets and their owners from problematic parasites. Senior pets or pets with certain physical disorders will also benefit from annual blood chemistry profiles in order to track their health.
- Regular vaccinations provide protection from many serious and sometimes life threatening diseases.
- Although vaccines are very important, they are just one facet of our overall health care plan, and the doctors at ZCVC are careful to tailor the vaccine recommendations to your pet’s needs.
- Please feel free to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your pet’s exposure to these diseases with your veterinarian.