Your Pet's Physical Checkup
When you bring your four-legged friend into our Nashville veterinary clinic for a routine wellness exam, your vet will review your pet's medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
Once your veterinarian is satisfied that they have all of the background information they need, they will perform a comprehensive physical checkup of your pet which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Palpate your pet's abdomen to assess whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
All of these tests are designed to detect any signs of health problems in your pet. Because our dogs and cats cannot tell us when they are in pain, these tests and checks help to determine how your pet is feeling in general.
Questions for Vets
Veterinary appointments are always easier for you and your pet when you arrive fully prepared, which includes having the questions you want to ask ready to go. Being prepared ahead of time allows you to get all the information you need to help keep your pet happy and healthy.
Below, the team at Belle Forest Animal Hospital provides a few questions they feel are important for pet parents to ask:
How is my pet's overall health?
- Starting with a general inquiry about your pet's overall well-being can help you gauge their overall health status. Your vet can provide insights into your pet's weight, dental health, coat condition, and any signs of potential problems.
Is my pet up to date with their shots?
- Vaccines are a very important part of your cat or dog's preventative care. They have to be kept up to date to help protect them from a wide range of serious and often life-threatening illnesses and diseases. The vets at our Nashville vet clinic always do their best to inform you when your pet is due for their booster shots however, it can sometimes be overlooked so it's always best to ask.
Is my pet's behavior normal?
- Pets do strange things that worry their owners, such as biting, wheezing, or itching. Always keep track of these behaviors and consult with your veterinarian if you suspect an underlying condition. You should also tell your veterinarian when these behaviors occurred so they can make an accurate diagnosis.
Is my pet's weight healthy?
- It can be difficult to determine whether your pet is overweight or underweight. Pets of all breeds and ages must adhere to specific weight guidelines to live healthy lives. Even a few extra pounds over or underweight can put your pet at risk for a variety of health problems (some of which are life-threatening), making this a critical question. If your cat or dog is overweight, your veterinarian will work with you to develop a diet and exercise plan to help your pet lose weight.
Are there any changes to my pet's diet that I should consider?
- Diet plays a crucial role in your pet's health, and your veterinarian can offer valuable advice on the right nutrition for your furry companion. Ask about appropriate portion sizes, feeding schedules, and any dietary modifications specific to your pet's breed, age, or medical conditions.
Is there a specific flea or tick prevention product you recommend for my pet?
- Fleas and ticks are not only bothersome for both pets and their owners, they also spread numerous serious diseases. With so many different products available, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you and your pet. Fortunately, your veterinarian will be able to recommend or prescribe a prevention product that will work best for your pet.
Can you explain my bill to me, please?
- When the staff at your veterinary office hands you the bill, please ask this question if you don't understand the charges. To give you a better understanding of the services offered, your veterinarian will be able to break down the costs and explain what each fee represents. It can also help you plan your next visit.
When should I schedule the next appointment?
- Finally, discuss with your vet when you should schedule the next routine exam for your four-legged friend. Establishing a regular check-up schedule ensures that your pet receives ongoing preventive care and allows any emerging health issues to be addressed before they become more serious concerns.
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.