Medical experts recommend that humans visit their doctor at least once a year to protect their overall health. The same applies to your pets. In order to help them live a long, happy, healthy life, you need to take them to the vet for annual or biannual exams to stop health issues early on and extend your pet’s life.

When health issues are detected early, the vet can intervene, treating the issue and managing it with medications or changes in lifestyle. They may also give you some tips that will help your pet stay healthy and avoid potential medical conditions.

If you are in or near Traveler’s Rest, SC consider bringing your pet to Balanced Pets. They specialize in primary and integrative healthcare for your furry companions.

What Does the Vet Look for During an Exam?

During routine veterinary visits, the vet will examine your pet, which may seem like nothing but a thorough petting. However, they learn a lot from it. Here’s what they are looking for during an exam:

Ears

Both cats and dogs commonly experience ear infections. Typically, cats have ear mites and dogs have bacterial or yeast infections. If not treated, an ear infection can lead to painful, thickened, inflamed ears, which can make cleaning and treating them in the future difficult. Your vet may also check for polyps or masses that need to be removed.

Eyes

Eye issues are common in flat-faced breeds, such as Persians, bulldogs, pugs, and others. Since their eyes often protrude, they are at an increased risk of getting scratched, which can lead to corneal ulcers. Vets also check for dry eyes, cataracts, and glaucoma which can cause a variety of complications for your pet.

Mouth

Your pet’s dental health will affect their entire body. During the exam, the vet will look for signs of tartar accumulation, gingivitis, oral masses, and loose teeth. If your dog’s mouth is dirty, it can cause damage to their heart, kidneys, and other organs.

Skin

If your pet is losing their fur and/or has dry, itchy skin, it could indicate several health issues, including allergies, fleas, mange, hormone imbalances, poor nutrition, and skin infections. The quality of your pet’s skin and fur is often an indication of their overall health.

Heart/Lungs

Older pets are at risk of developing heart disease. However, younger pets may also have issues with their heart function and rhythm. It’s much easier to manage cardiac disease when the signs first appear and the best way to detect it is with a stethoscope.

Heart disease isn’t obvious in most pets until it is more advanced, at which point they begin to display intolerance to exercise and coughing. If they have heart disease, it also may affect their lungs, causing them to wheeze and crackle when the fluid backs up.

Abdomen

When your vet is massaging your pet’s belly, they are actually checking for abnormal organ size and masses. This is an important part of the examination because abnormal organ size and mass could indicate serious issues. For example, enlarged kidneys may be signs of renal failure, thickened bladders may be due to a chronic urinary tract infection, and enlarged spleens could be a sign of a tumor.

Muscles/Joints/Bones

In many cases, changes in gait or muscle loss can be remedied. Most older pets develop osteoarthritis, which causes stiffness and muscle loss due to inactivity because of pain.

Many dogs, especially those who are active, may experience a rupture in their cranial cruciate ligament, which is a lot like an ACL tear in humans. If not properly dealt with, it can cause significant joint issues for your pet.

The vet will take the time to examine your furry friend from nose to tail and, depending on the results of the exam, may recommend additional testing or may issue a clean bill of health until the next one.

Why is Routine Testing Important for the Health of Your Pet?

Just like humans, pets benefit from routine testing during their routine veterinary visits. In younger pets, it can provide a baseline for their normal values and may uncover hidden illnesses. Older pets may benefit from screening for common breed/species-specific diseases. Here are a few of the common tests that your vet may recommend:

  • Blood work
  • Heartworm test
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal examination

Since pets are good at hiding their illnesses, it’s critical to take them in for an annual or biannual exam with routine screenings. This will help detect illnesses in the early stages, which can extend their life, providing you with many years of quality time together.

If you’re in or near Traveler’s Rest, SC, schedule routine veterinary visits with the professionals at Balanced Pets. They provide primary and integrative healthcare services for your furry companion. Your pet’s health is their priority.