What Happens in Wellness Examination for Dogs?

What Happens in Wellness Examination for Dogs?

April 12, 2023

What Happens in Wellness Examination for Dogs?

Pet wellness examinations are a routine check-up of your pet. It’s a chance to catch health problems before they get too serious.

Physical Examination

During a wellness examination, your veterinarian will review your pet’s medical history. They will also ask about your pet’s diet, exercise, thirst, elimination patterns, habits, lifestyle and breathing. Your veterinarian will listen to your dog’s heart and lung sounds with a stethoscope, and palpate the lymph nodes around the body. This is done to ensure that no abnormalities are present. Detecting a murmur, for example, may indicate early disease.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are done as part of the wellness examination to provide your pet’s veterinarian with important details about their health. This information helps identify diseases at their earliest stages, making it easier to treat them effectively and prevent serious complications from occurring. Blood serum tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels and more. These tests are especially important for evaluating older pets, dogs that are ill, pets that have been exposed to toxins and pets that are receiving long-term medications or undergoing sedation or anesthesia.

Ear Exam

Ears are an essential part of your pet’s health. During an examination, your vet will check your dog’s ears for signs of infection, redness, discharge or ear mites. To examine the ear canal and eardrum, your veterinarian will use a device called an otoscope. This is a cone with a light inside that lets the vet see inside your dog’s ears.

Eye Exam

Eyes are an important part of your pet’s overall health. An annual eye exam can catch some issues early on, allowing for treatment to start sooner. During the exam, your vet will perform tests like a Schirmer tear test and fluorescein staining. They may also use a tonometer, which measures intraocular pressure. This tests for glaucoma.

Mouth Exam

The mouth exam is done to check for any abnormalities, like bad breath, that could be indicative of dental disease. These conditions can wreak havoc on your pet’s health, so it’s important to have regular oral exams done by a vet. The examiner will use a cotton swab to feel for any changes in the hard tissues of your pet’s teeth. The examiner will also look for any changes in the soft tissues of your pet’s mouth, such as drooling or bleeding.

Lymph Node Exam

The lymph node exam is a great way to assess the health of your dog. It involves feeling lymph nodes throughout the body, including in the head and neck and on the axillae (the upper arm). Swollen lymph nodes are often the first sign of an infection or cancer, so they are important to spot as quickly as possible. Besides a physical examination, your vet will perform blood tests and other tests to help determine the cause of your dog’s enlarged lymph nodes.

Heart Exam

Using a stethoscope, your veterinarian listens to the heart and lungs. They’re listening for abnormal lung sounds that might indicate fluid buildup in the lungs, which is one sign of congestive heart failure. The stethoscope can also detect heart murmurs, or irregular heart rhythms that are a symptom of heart disease. If your pet has an abnormal murmur, a referral to a board-certified veterinary cardiologist for additional testing may be recommended.

Lung Exam

The veterinarian will want to take a close look at your dog’s lungs and airways. The vet can do this by using various scopes to see the nose, throat, and trachea. A lung exam can be very useful in diagnosing bacterial pneumonia or other diseases. The fluid retrieved from the trachea and bronchi can be cultured to determine which type of bacteria are present.

Abdomen Exam

The abdominal exam consists of inspection, auscultation for bowel sounds, percussion, and palpation. It should be performed in this order to avoid inadvertently omitting serious extra-abdominal abnormalities. Percussion of the abdomen can be used to identify changes in the size of the spleen. If the spleen is significantly enlarged, it will produce a dull tone when percussed.

Thyroid Exam

Your veterinarian may want to examine your dog’s thyroid gland. This exam uses ultrasound to detect signs of abnormal enlargement or nodules on the thyroid gland. This test can also help your doctor determine if your pet needs a biopsy of a concerning nodule. Ultrasound can help guide the needle used to remove the tissue for testing.

Interested in scheduling a wellness exam for your furry companion? Be sure to contact our expert vet care professionals here at St. Francisville Animal Hospital to learn more about what we can do to keep your pet happy and healthy!

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