Health is sometimes skin deep…
The skin is the body’s largest organ, so inflammation or infection of the skin has a significant negative effect on your pet’s health. We will check for fleas, ticks, other external parasites, tumors, and wounds. The skin is also a good indicator of any other problems in your pets overall health. Typically, a flat dull coat and flakey skin means that either your pet’s health or diet is not optimal. Healthy pets should have a soft shiny and lustrous coat. Many owners find our diet and shampoo recommendations make a huge difference to the quality of their pets skin and coat, improve the quality of life for their pet, and mean the dog can come back inside again….
Your veterinarian will use their hands and fingers to carefully feel the abdominal organs. This sense of touch is used to assess the condition of internal organs and to detect tumors or other irregularities. When we feel the skin, we are looking for unusual lumps or swellings as well as evaluating for patterns of hair loss or thinning. These can indicate the presence of more systemic problems, especially metabolic or hormonal diseases, which most commonly occur in middle-aged animals.
Palpate joints and muscles – By examining the joints, legs, back and other areas of the body, we are able to evaluate for swollen joints, decreased muscle tone and variations in muscle size between the legs. We also observe your pet’s gait for movement or mobility issues. In puppies, we look for early indications of hip, knee or elbow problems. In middle aged and older pets, we look for signs of arthritis, which can be readily and successfully treated if found early.
Once the physical examination has been completed and we have addressed any concerns you may have, we will also review vaccination status and preventative care measures like parasite control (heartworm, intestinal worms, fleas and ticks) to ensure that these aspects of your pet’s health are up to date. It’s a lot to cover in this period of time and this is why we ensure our veterinarians have a full 15 minutes with both you and your pet.
Lab work – A complete physical exam for pets sometimes also includes urine testing and blood work to assess underlying organ health which cannot be assessed with just a physical exam – liver and kidney function for example. If this is required we will discuss this with you at the time.