Regular vaccinations and examinations will help keep your pet healthy and happy. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you of the frequency that your pet should be examined, but most recommend either annual or six-monthly visits. This is because pets age an average of 7 times faster than humans and so by the time they reach 6/7 years old they are considered middle-aged. Larger breeds of dogs are often considered to be seniors by the time they reach 8.
Typical components of a wellness examination include:
Checking the central nervous center
Checking and cleaning the ears, treating if required
Checking joints and mobility
Checking skin and condition of coat
Checking urinary and reproductive systems
Listen to the heart
Listen to the lungs
Observation of alertness and response
Palpate the abdomen checking for painful areas and/or growths or tumors
Physical examination of the rest of the body for unusual lumps
Other tests that your pet may be given include:
Heartworm testing (otherwise known as blood parasite screening)
Fecal testing. This allows the veterinarian to check for the presence of internal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.
Blood work. Blood tests screen for infection or disease that may not otherwise be detected through a physical examination. Blood work also allows a veterinarian a comprehensive assessment of your pets’ health.