Physical Examinations are Part of Preventive Care

Now that summer has come to an end, and the hectic holiday season hasn't started yet, it is an excellent time to treat your pet to a thorough physical examination. The value of a proper physical examination cannot be overstated. Far too many pet owners feel their pet is indestructible and requires no upkeep to keep going. Quite often, this results in problems that begin as ones simple to treat becoming far more serious for the animal. This also can mean the condition requires more in depth treatment and consequently more cost to the owner. Many times clients receive the post cards we send as a courtesy to inform you of the need for a physical examination, and they are thought of as merely vaccination reminder cards. Although it is true immunization is an important part of preventive medicine, is not the most important part. For every animal we see with one of the infectious diseases, we see at least 100 that have conditions we could have provided early intervention for which could have greatly reduced the problems the pet experienced and the expense the owner assumed. The purpose of the physical examination is to identify problems when they are still minor and provide you with options that will slow the progression of the condition, or if possible cure it. Our approach at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital is to recommend thorough physical examinations on all pets at least once each year. For young pets, this might just entail examination of the pet by the Veterinarian, evaluation of the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and teeth, skin, muscles and skeletal structure by direct observation, testing reflexes to evaluate neurological function, auscultation (listening) to the heart and lungs, and palpation (feeling) the internal organs of the abdomen. For older pets, we also recommend blood work to evaluate internal organ function. Once the physical examination is completed, we provide you with our assessment, alerting you to any findings that indicate current problems or ones likely to occur in the near future. We discuss any preventive measures we feel are appropriate for your pet based on its age, species, and health status. We also alert you to any problems or threats to your pet's health that are new in our area. Finally, we will immunize your pet if vaccinations are due or overdue, to maintain protection from infectious diseases. Many times the pet does not have any significant problems. However, we also frequently find conditions the owner was unaware of, or that the owner was unaware of the serious danger the condition presents for the pet. In summary, it is very important to realize the Physical examination is the foundation for proper preventive health care.