The importance of the annual exam is stressed at Riverbrook Animal Hospital because pets can not tell you how they really feel. A yearly exam for your pet is like a physical every seven years for you, so a lot can transpire in the life of an animal over the course of a year.

A physical exam for your pet will involve the following:

  • Listening to your pet’s heart for any murmurs or abnormal rhythms is important for early detection of cardiac disease. Many cardiac diseases can be treated to slow the disease process and to prevent more serious issues.
  • Listening to your pet’s lungs for any signs of asthma, infection or obstructive lung diseases that may need attention.
  • Look at your pet’s eyes for any signs of redness, irritation, corneal ulcerations or diseases. Glaucoma and several other diseases can be inherited and if caught early can save your pet’s eyesight.
  • Look in your pet’s ears. Ear infections are extremely common and occur as a result of allergies, swimming, bathing, food reactions or mites. Many ear infections occur without symptoms, so it is important to have your pet’s ears checked at least yearly.
  • Evaluate your pet’s teeth and oral cavity. Dental disease can lead to infection and disease in the rest of the body, so dental care and health are one of the most important areas to take care of to keep your pet healthy and living as long as possible.
  • Palpate the abdomen to see if there are any abnormalities detected, such as enlarged organs, tumors or masses. It is often the case that an issue can be detected on exam that would not otherwise manifest in clinical symptoms for several months.
  • Evaluate lymph nodes and skin for any abnormal swelling, lumps, bumps, skin irritations, redness, sores or external parasites such as fleas or ticks.
  • Palpate joints and muscles to detect any unusual swellings in joints, decreased muscle mass or pain your pet may by experiencing.