Wellness/Sick Pet Exams

Pets are part of the family and just like people, they may require a pet exam to maintain ongoing health or get back on the right track.

<pstyle=”text-align: center;”=””>Whether your pet is displaying symptoms that require immediate attention, or they have reached a milestone in age, you should have an understanding of what a pet exam is and when it’s time to get one.</pstyle=”text-align:>

Wellness Pet Exams

Maintaining your pet’s optimal health is about consistency. When searching “what is pet exam?” online, chances are you’re talking about a wellness exam, a.k.a. regular checkup and what that includes. A wellness exam is a routine medical procedure that ensures your furry friend is happy and healthy for years to come.

White curly haired dog being held during wellness pet exam
chihuahua with broken leg receiving wellness pet exam

The focus of a wellness pet exam is to check up on their condition, test for any past or current issues, and recommend future treatment. The frequency of wellness exams depends on your pet’s age and current health status. That also applies to the pet exam cost.

Puppies and kittens require more exams than their adult counterparts. For the average age, an annual wellness exam is normal. For middle-aged and senior dogs, semi-annual checkups are recommended.

Procedures Performed During Pet Exams

During a routine wellness exam, the veterinarian will ask you questions about your pet’s diet, exercise, breathing, thirst, behavior, habits, lifestyle, bowel movements/urination (elimination patterns), and general health.

Next, the vet will perform a physical examination of health. Based on your pet’s history and what they find, recommendations will be made for specific preventative treatment, like vaccinations, dental care, and parasite control.

Physical Examination

In a physical exam, the vet starts by observing the general appearance of the pet. This includes listening to their chest with a stethoscope (auscultation) and examining certain areas of the body (palpation).

They may inspect:

  • General body condition (abdomen, legs, head, neck, paws, nails)
  • Weight
  • How your pet stands and walks
  • Check for muscle condition
  • Haircoat (dryness, dandruff, shedding, and loss)
  • Skin (oiliness/dryness, lumps, abnormal thickening)
  • Eyes (redness, discharge, tearing, lumps, cloudiness)
  • Nose and face (symmetry, discharges, breathing)
  • Mouth and teeth (tartar buildup, gums, broken teeth, ulcers)
  • Heart (rate, rhythm, murmurs, pulse)
  • Lymph nodes (head, neck, hind legs)

A veterinarian may also ask for a sample of feces to be collected prior to the visit. This will be processed and microscopically evaluated for parasites, including eggs and larvae.

In puppies and kittens, fecal samples are extremely important as younger pets are highly susceptible to intestinal parasites.

Preventative Medicine

After the wellness exam is complete, the vet may recommend heartworm testing on a schedule that is appropriate for where you live. There may also be recommendations for specific treatments like:

  • Vaccinations
  • Parasite control
  • Nutrition
  • Skin and coat care
  • Weight management
  • Joint health
  • Dental care

Additionally, your vet may discuss individual circumstances and whether any other life-stage or life-cycle treatments are appropriate.

Good dog standing on back legs during preventative pet exam

Sick Pet Exams

When your pet is suddenly ill or has an ongoing disease, it’s important you have a professional to speak with. Sick pet exams are designed to focus on a specific issue or set of issues that are affecting the quality of your pet’s health.

During a pet exam designed for a sick pet, veterinarians will perform a wide range of tests and diagnostics. This is to try and determine the underlying causes and get to the root of the problem. This exam may or may not include a physical exam, blood work, urine and fecal testing, and other diagnostics.

Common reasons your furry friend may need a sick pet exam include:

    • Throwing up or excessive diarrhea
    • Refusing to eat or drink water
    • Limping or crying in pain
    • Visible cuts or abrasions
    • Hard time breathing
    • Acting lethargic or fainting
    • Any other reason you feel your pet needs immediate assistance

    If you suspect your pet is ill, do not wait. Call a vet in the Flagstaff, Arizona area as soon as possible to schedule a sick pet exam. If the case is not an emergency, your vet will draw up a tailored treatment plan based on your animal’s history and lifestyle.

    If necessary, medications can be prescribed to reduce a pet’s pain or swelling. As always, any course of treatment will be discussed with the pet owner, in full, before any action is taken.

    White cat with blue eyes on an exam table during pet exam
    small terrier dog in a travel case on top of a pet exam table
    A young puppy lays down on a soft cushion while receiving a diagnostic exam

    Diagnostic Exams for Sick Pets

    As part of your regular pet checkups, the vet may recommend a series of wellness screening tests. These are also called diagnostics exams and are part of maintaining the ongoing health of your animal.

    There are four main categories of wellness testing:

    • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
    • Urinalysis
    • Biochemistry profile
    • Thyroid Hormone testing

    Within each of these categories, the vet will advise as to how extensive the testing should be. In younger animals with no health complaints, relatively simple tests will be required. Much like humans, the older pets get, the more tests they’ll need to maintain health.

    In middle-aged, senior, and geriatric animals, more comprehensive testing is required. Additional screening may include chest or abdominal x-rays and radiographs of the skeletal system. The vet will be looking more closely at the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver, as well as for degenerative changes in the bones and joints.

    These diagnostic tests are needed because it is in an animal’s natural survival instinct to hide signs of disease. Especially in the early stages, where you need to catch it most.

    A health condition can become highly advanced before a pet ever shows signs. You want to catch anything before it becomes serious and can still be treated. This helps to extend your pet’s health and leads to a longer life of wellness.

    A full husky naps next to a bowl of dog food

    Booking an Exam

    When you contact us to book an exam, ask whether your pet should fast before the visit. Certain tests may require this. You may also be asked to bring in fresh urine or fecal samples, depending on the problem.

    Prepare basic information for the visit. This includes data like:

    • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
    • Urinalysis
    • Biochemistry profile
    • Thyroid Hormone testing

    Conclusion – Does Your Pet Need an Exam? Call Us!

    If a disease or condition is detected early, steps can be taken to manage or correct the issue before irreversible damage occurs. That’s why wellness and sick pet exams help improve the prognosis for a successful outcome.

    Additionally, early detection and treatment is less costly than treatment for an advanced disease. These types of exams are particularly important for older pets, as you can catch things early and help extend their lifespan. The more effort you put into continuous healthcare, the happier your pet will be!

    There’s no need to Google “pet exam near me”, just give us a call! We’ll get you on the schedule and your pet on the right track to health.