Regular wellness exams are one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy. Green Hills Veterinary Clinic recommends annual wellness exams at a minimum, and as your pet ages, we suggest an increase in frequency of visits. One of the most important reasons to bring your pet in on a regular basis is to monitor and treat conditions before they become untreatable. Since pets can’t vocalize how they are feeling, illness or disease may be present before you are aware of symptoms. The benefit of early detection allows time for steps to be taken to manage or correct a problem before irreversible damage occurs. We believe strongly in preventive care and have developed wellness protocols for every stage of your pet’s life.
We may ask you to fill out a preliminary checklist along with a complete medical history of your pet’s health including eating habits, exercise, unusual behavior, etc. The checklist will ask about any issues that your pet may have. For example, if you noticed that your pet is losing weight, our veterinarian may perform special tests to help rule out specific diseases that can cause weight loss. Make sure to fill out the forms thoroughly and bring a list of questions that you may have about your pet’s health. This is the perfect time to ask these questions.
Most wellness exams include a complete physical examination, which is a nose-to-tail inspection for any abnormalities. Our veterinarian will use special equipment, including a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs, an otoscope to view the inside of the ears, and an ophthalmoscope to examine the eyes. Your veterinarian will also feel all over your pet’s body for lumps and bumps. In addition, your veterinarian will check your pet’s vital signs (temperature, pulse, and respiration) and record your pet’s current weight.
Since our animals cannot tell us what is wrong, your veterinarian may perform testing on samples of blood, urine, and stool during a wellness exam. The blood test may include a complete blood cell count (CBC) and a chemistry panel. These tests can help determine if your pet has problems such as anemia, infection, or organ disease. Other tests, such as a thyroid evaluation, may be helpful, depending on the physical examination results and patient history.
Parasite tests are usually performed during wellness examinations. We request that you bring in a sample of your pet’s stool for analysis. A fresh stool sample can be tested using special procedures to identify parasites. However, not all parasites are detected through stool samples. Green Hills Veterinary Clinic recommends testing your pet for heartworm disease. This type of parasite test involves taking a blood sample. We perform heartworm testing and fecal testing on site, this way you have the results before you leave the appointment that day.
Our veterinarian’s may also recommend checking your pet’s urine by performing a urinalysis. This helps determine whether your pet’s kidneys are working correctly and may also help diagnose certain conditions, such as diabetes and urinary tract infection. A urinalysis also involves testing the urine for the presence of bacteria, blood, and sediment as well as evidence of infection, any of which may mean that there is a problem.
Depending on your pet’s age, current medical condition, and medical history, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests as part of your pet’s wellness examination. Early detection and correction of medical problems will help to ensure that your pet will love a long, healthy and active life.