Probably the most common reason your pet will need to see a Veterinarian is for annual examinations or wellness examinations and for vaccinations. We highly recommend that your pet see a veterinarian at least once a year for a physical exam. Remember the general rule of thumb, one human year is equal to seven pet years. Health changes occur much quicker in animals than in people. A yearly exam will help pick up some of the changes that occur with disease that you may not notice.
During a comprehensive exam many clients typically wait patiently, answer the doctors questions and at the end of the exam they want to make sure their pet gets those shots. The client often thinks that the doctor looked at their pet and found nothing, so it was a waste of money but at least their pet got their shots. In fact the real value of the visit is the exam. The doctor spent four long years in veterinary school learning about eyes, about ears, about mouths, about cancers, about parasites and about tons of other things and they learned how to give a shot on day two (well, not really but you get my point). So what is the doctor really looking at during a comprehensive exam? Here are just some of the things the doctors look for during the exam.
1) The skin is checked for fleas/ticks, mange, general appearance, hair loss, yeast or bacterial infections, tumors, lumps etc.
2) The eyes are checked for cataracts, appearance of the retina/optic nerve and blood vessels.
3) The teeth are checked to make sure all adult teeth have erupted and baby teeth have been lost, also for misalignment, tarter buildup, inflammed gums etc.
4) The mouth is checked for tumors especially in cats (Cats whose owners smoke have the chemicals from the smoke on their fur and their grooming makes them suseptable to mouth cancers.).
5) Legs are checked for tumors, pain on flexion/extension, arthritis etc.
6) The abdominal cavity is checked for masses and pain.
7) The heart is listened to for any abnormalities.
8) The lungs are listened to for signs of breathing difficulties.
9) The gait of the pet is looked at for any abnormalities.
10) Last but not least the weight of the pet is checked. There are many problems that occur due to overweight pets and we will discuss the importance of keeping the weight down on your pet.
As you can see, a comprehensive exam checks for many things that an owner does not look for or does not know to look for and although it is not something you can touch, it is the greatest value of an annual visit.
Vaccinations are also important but on an as needed or as required basis. Vaccination for rabies is the law here in Florida, so all pets will get a rabies vaccine unless the doctor determines the pet's medical condition would be compromised by the vaccine. The remaining vaccines are given on an as needed basis and this is determined by the lifestyle of your pet. For instance, a dog that goes to the groomer is more at risk than a dog that only goes outside to go to the bathroom. When you come in for your pet's annual exam, we will discuss your pets lifestyle with you and we will recommend only the vaccines we feel are most appropriate for that lifestyle. In addition, vaccinations tend to stress out the immune system and if the pet is already sick then vaccinating may end up making the immediate problem worse. This is why we require an exam before we vaccinate your pet. If your pet is having a health problem, the doctor will determine if vaccinations are warranted at that time or if it is best for your pet to be treated first and vaccinated after recovering from the immediate problem.
For an exam and vaccinations please call and make an appointment. The order in which we see appointments is:
- Life and Death Emergencies
- Scheduled Appointments