Written by Michelle Walsh
Animal Care Assistant, North Town Veterinary Hospital
Firstly, I know everyone thinks that having your pet in for an exam is stressful and time consuming, but you need to look at the bigger picture here! It’s a chance to learn more about your pet, and ways to continue their care.
When you bring your pet in for an annual exam it’s an excellent time for your veterinarian to conduct a head to toe physical exam, from your pet’s eyes to ears as well as heart and lungs to legs and toes.
Having medical history on your pet is essential to keeping track of vaccinations, surgeries, or any prescriptions or prescription foods. This is why when your veterinarian is not listening to your dog’s lungs or looking through the fur he/she will be making notes into their medical history. These notes help with vaccination reminders, prescription refills, and any questions that may need answered for you. I know when I went for my first annual exam with my dog I was super nervous, because I didn’t know what to expect, and I certainly didn’t know why the veterinarian would make notes!
The physical exam of your pet includes the following: listening to their heart and lungs, looking in between the fur for any irregularities on the skin, their temperature being taken. Taking an accurate temperature tells the vet many things about your pet, for example your pet may have an increased temperature in the exam due to being slightly stressed. It is likely their temperature will go back to normal once they are comfortable at home.
The average length of an annual exam depends on if there are any issues with your pet that you feel need to be discussed in detail with you veterinarian, and to make the length decrease you can always give your veterinarian clinic a call we will always try to answer your questions to the best of our knowledge.
Depending on what your veterinarian decides to discuss with you regarding your pet in the annual exam, having an open mind approach is always good. From my personal experience I thought I knew more until I took my pet in for an exam. What I found out is that I was over feeding her by 1 cup! One cup of food you think? That isn’t a large amount, but in time it could make her over weight.
I believe bringing your pet to have an annual physical exam is important. Instead of looking at the exam as costly or time-consuming look at the exam as a learning experience for you to take the best care of your furry friend!