Routine wellness exams - or vet checkups - can help to provide your pet with the best possible chance at a long and healthy life, but what does a routine exam entail? Today our Pico Rivera vets explain what happens when you bring your pet in for a vet checkup. 

Your Pet's Physical Checkup

When you bring your dog or cat into our Pico Rivera veterinary clinic for a vet checkup, your vet will review your pet's medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.

After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a 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 access 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.

Ensuring Vaccines Are Up To Date

Vaccines are designed to protect your dog or cat against common, contagious, and potentially life-threatening diseases. The vaccines recommended for your dog or cat will be based on where you live and your pet's lifestyle. 

Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all pets, whereas lifestyle vaccines are typically recommended for pets who interact with other animals on a regular basis. Visit our vaccine schedule to learn more about the vaccines recommended for your pet.

Adult pets will need to be provided with 'booster shots' on a regular basis in order to maintain their protection against disease. In most cases, boosters are given annually or once every three years. Your vet will be sure to let you know when your dog or cat's booster shots are due.

Preventing Parasitic Diseases & Conditions

Parasites are a real health threat to Pico Rivera pets. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can invade your pet's body and cause potentially fatal conditions, that's why your vet will recommend ways to prevent parasites from invading your four-legged friend. It's also important to know that some of these parasites can be passed from pets to their loving owners!

In order for us to perform a fecal exam, you may have been asked to bring in a sample of your pet's stool. Fecals allow our veterinary team to examine your dog's stool for signs of common intestinal parasites that would otherwise be difficult to detect.

Heartworm testing may be included in your pet's wellness exam. This test allows your veterinarian to look for the earliest signs of heartworm disease in your pet's blood. If your pet has contracted this serious parasitic condition, detecting it as soon as possible gives them the best chance of a successful treatment outcome.

Parasite prevention can protect your pet from conditions like:

  • Heartworm
  • Fleas
  • Lyme Disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms 
  • Tapeworms
  • Whipworm

Weighing Up The Benefits

We understand that taking your pet to the vet when they appear to be perfectly healthy may appear to be an unnecessary expense, but routine checkups assist your pet's team of veterinary professionals in detecting signs of disease in the earliest stages when many conditions are easiest to treat, as well as providing your pet with the very best in preventive care - from vaccines to parasite prevention medications. Regularly scheduled wellness exams will save you money when compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders, or diseases (especially heartworm).

Not only that, but they will make sure your pet experiences a minimal amount of discomfort or pain from any health issues they are experiencing. The sooner a medical issue is detected, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated. 

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.

Need to book your dog or cat's annual checkup? Contact our Pico Rivera vets at Pico Rivera Animal Hospital today to book a routine exam for your furry friend.