As a pet owner, it is crucial to ensure the well-being of your furry friend by scheduling regular physical exams. Our veterinarians at O’Fallon provide insight on what to expect during a routine check-up for your pet, so they can stay healthy and content.

My pet looks healthy. Why should I bring him to the vet?

Annual check-ups with your veterinarian are an essential aspect of ensuring your pet's well-being. Even if your four-legged family member seems perfectly healthy, it's still crucial to bring them in for a routine exam. 

These visits offer a unique opportunity for your vet to monitor your pet's overall health and identify any potential problems early on when they are more easily treatable. 

By proactively managing your pet's health through regular wellness exams, you can help prevent the onset of illnesses and ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy for years to come. So don't wait until you notice something is wrong; schedule those vet appointments now!

How often should my pet have a routine exam?

The frequency of vet visits for your furry friend depends on various factors such as their age and health background. For pets with a clean bill of health but a history of medical issues, it's advisable for them to have frequent check-ups, at least twice a year, to maintain their well-being.

Your veterinarian can provide personalized recommendations on the ideal frequency of visits. For young pets such as puppies and kittens, who are more susceptible to illnesses, regular check-ups are crucial in the early stages of their lives.

Your vet may suggest visiting them once a month to monitor their health. An annual routine exam is usually sufficient for adult pets with a strong immune system. At O’Fallon, our vets recommend this as a standard for cats and dogs with no prior health concerns. 

However, some pets like giant breed dogs and senior cats and dogs have a higher risk of developing certain health problems. To detect any signs of illness in its early stages, it's recommended that they have twice-yearly routine exams.

What's involved in a routine examination for pets?

Our vet will take the time to review your furry friend's medical history and address any concerns you may have. To ensure your pet's optimal health, we will also take into consideration their lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity, bathroom habits, hydration levels, and overall demeanor.

Next, your vet will complete a physical exam for your pet. This will typically include the following (and often much more):

  • Inspecting your pet's eyes for signs of cloudiness, discharge, excessive tearing, swelling, eyelid issues or redness
  • Checking your pet's stance, gait and weight
  • Examining your pet's nails and feet for damage or signs of more serious health issues
  • Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any symptoms of illness such as signs of pain or swelling, or evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion
  • Examining your pet's ears for signs of wax buildup, polyps, bacterial infection or ear mites
  • Inspecting your pet's teeth for damage, decay or signs of periodontal disease
  • Examining your pet's coach for abnormal hair loss, dandruff and overall condition
  • Listening to your pet's lungs and heart
  • Palpating your pet's abdomen to check for signs of discomfort and find out whether internal organs appear to be normal
  • Examining your cat's or dog's skin for a range of problems from parasites or dryness to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)

If no issues are found during the routine exam, this list of tests and checks will breeze by. Your vet may even chat with you as they go through the process. However, if they do discover a health issue, they will make sure to take the time to explain what they've noticed and recommend the next steps or treatment.

Any annual vaccinations your pet needs will also be administered during their exam, based on the appropriate vaccination schedule for your pet.

Additional Recommended Wellness Testing for Pets

As part of your pet's routine examination, your veterinarian may suggest additional wellness tests to ensure their overall health. It's crucial to keep in mind that early detection and treatment of any potential health issues can save you both time and money, as opposed to waiting until the condition becomes severe.

These tests screen for a range of conditions and can help detect very early signs of illness, even before symptoms appear:

  • Thyroid hormone testing
  • Urinalysis
  • Complete blood count (CBC)

If your pet is a giant breed dog or senior animal, your vet may recommend more diagnostic testing such as x-rays or other imaging.

The End of the Routine Exam

After conducting a thorough examination and testing, your veterinarian will provide any necessary annual vaccinations and take the time to go over their findings with you. 

In the event that any health concerns are discovered during the exam, your vet will keep you informed by explaining the diagnosis and discussing available treatment options. 

Suppose your furry friend is in good health. In that case, the conversation may center around enhancing their diet and exercise habits, maintaining oral health, and implementing effective parasite control measures to maintain overall well-being.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your pet due for their annual routine examination? At O’Fallon, our compassionate and dedicated veterinary team will work with you to ensure your pet stays happy and healthy long-term. Contact us today for an appointment.