What's involved in a dog wellness exam?

A dog wellness exam is akin to a human physical exam, covering all the basic organ systems and body functions. The veterinarian checks the eyes, ears, and teeth, ensuring they are clean and healthy. They also feel the lymph nodes for any enlargement, listen to the heart and lungs, and palpate the abdomen to detect any tenseness or organ swelling. Furthermore, the skin is examined for lesions, fleas, ticks, and other ectoparasites, while the limbs are assessed for range of motion to identify any arthritic or sore areas.

Dr. Chris Jones
Haywood Veterinary Hospital

How does dog wellness impact the longevity of my pet?

Regular dog wellness exams enable early detection of potential health problems, which can be addressed before they become severe or long-term issues. The longer we wait on a problem, the more likely it is to develop into a long-term issue that might not be as easy to fix. By checking your pet's health annually, you're more likely to ensure their longevity.

How soon should I bring my pet in for a wellness exam?

Ideally, you should bring your dog in for a wellness exam once a year. If it's been more than a year since your dog's last visit to a veterinarian, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Will additional testing be needed beyond a wellness exam?

During a yearly wellness exam, it's typical for the veterinarian to perform blood work to assess organ function and other aspects of your dog's health that can't be determined through a physical examination alone. This additional testing may include checking liver, kidney, and pancreas function, as well as evaluating blood glucose levels, electrolytes, and thyroid function.

How will a veterinarian assess dog wellness?

A veterinarian assesses dog wellness by performing a comprehensive physical examination, blood work, and urine testing. These evaluations provide a complete picture of your pet's health and help to identify any concerns or potential issues.

What are some dog wellness recommendations my vet is likely to make?

During a wellness exam, your veterinarian is likely to recommend vaccinations, dental care, and preventative measures against heartworm, tick-borne diseases, and flea infestations. Vaccinations protect your pet from many preventable diseases, while dental care helps to maintain overall health and prevent future complications. Preventing parasites like heartworm, ticks, and fleas can help keep your dog's skin and overall wellbeing in check. Those are the top three recommendations your veterinarian is likely to make at a wellness exam.

What are some possible environmental factors that can affect dog wellness?

Dogs can be sensitive to changes in their environment, which may impact their wellness. Factors that may affect your dog include new people coming in and out of the home, a new pet in the household, moving to a new location, or the presence of stray animals nearby that could cause stress. Additionally, dogs that frequently visit locations like doggy daycares, dog parks, or groomers are at higher risk of picking up illnesses or sustaining injuries.

Why is early detection of health issues in my dog so important?

Early detection of health issues in your dog increases the likelihood of treating or managing the problem before it becomes severe or long-term. Addressing issues promptly can minimize their negative impact on your pet, making it easier to maintain their overall wellness.

What is geriatric dog screening?

Geriatric dog screening is the process of evaluating the health of senior dogs, whose aging bodies can become increasingly susceptible to issues like kidney, liver, and thyroid problems. Regular screenings help to monitor and address these potential changes, ensuring the continued health of your senior pet. In some cases, geriatric screenings may be necessary more frequently than annual wellness exams for adult dogs.

Will my vet suggest allergy testing for my dog?

Allergy testing is generally less common in dogs than in humans. If your dog is experiencing allergies, a veterinarian is more likely to recommend allergy medications, dietary changes, or environmental control measures to address the issue. Allergy testing may be suggested if you express specific concerns to your veterinarian but is typically not a standard part of a wellness exam.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (828) 697-0446, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media https://www.facebook.com/haywoodanimalhospital/, https://www.instagram.com/haywoodanimalhospital/

Dog Wellness Exams - FAQs

Dr. Chris Jones
Haywood Veterinary Hospital

What does a veterinarian look for during a dog wellness exam?

During a dog wellness exam, a veterinarian examines the entire pet, focusing on the eyes, ears, teeth, and lymph nodes. They listen to the dog's heart and lungs, examine the abdomen for any discomfort or organ changes, and inspect the skin for lesions, wounds, and parasites. Additionally, they check the dog's joints and range of motion for any soreness or limping. Blood work and urine tests may also be conducted as part of the exam.

What do I need to bring to a wellness exam?

Bring any relevant information about your pet to the wellness exam, such as the type of food they eat, current preventatives, and any medications they are taking. Your veterinarian may also request a fecal sample to test for intestinal parasites and a urine sample to check for urinary tract infections.

Are wellness exams for dogs optional?

No, wellness exams for dogs should not be considered optional. Like humans, it is essential for dogs to visit the veterinarian at least once a year, or every six months when they reach their senior years.

How long do dog wellness exams usually take?

Dog wellness exams typically take about 30 minutes, which allows adequate time for the technician to gather a full history, the doctor to perform the exam, administer any necessary vaccines, and answer any questions you may have.

How do dog wellness exams influence subsequent treatments?

The wellness exam's findings will determine the course of action for treating any issues that may arise. For example, if a urinary tract infection is discovered, antibiotics may be prescribed, or if coughing is detected, x-rays might be taken to explore further. The specific treatments will depend on the individual dog and the conditions found during the exam.

What are baseline diagnostic tests and how do they help my dog?

Baseline diagnostic tests include blood work and urine testing. Blood work checks red and white blood cells, glucose levels, kidney function, electrolytes, protein levels, liver values, pancreatic function, and thyroid function. Urine tests help detect urinary tract infections, crystals, and other issues. Heartworm and tick-borne disease tests may also be performed during routine wellness exams to ensure the dog's overall health.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (828) 697-0446, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media https://www.facebook.com/haywoodanimalhospital/, https://www.instagram.com/haywoodanimalhospital/