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COMPREHENSIVE PHYSICAL EXAM

Healthy living starts with knowledge.

The comprehensive physical examination is the investigation of the body to determine the state of your pet's health. It includes the physical exam, the history and any laboratory tests. These components create the information from which a diagnosis can be made and the healthcare plan can be developed.

The physical exam remains the most important foundation for overall wellness care and health maintenance.

It is a process of using the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation, and smell to evaluate objective anatomical findings. Veterinary expertise is the most valuable and important component in identifying and understanding the importance of the physical findings. A thorough physical exam includes:

  1. General observations including your pet's weight, temperament, alertness, and responsiveness.
  2. Assessment of your pet's body condition (relative body fat).
  3. Appropriate identification of pain, since most pets hide pain well.
  4. Evaluating the eyes for symmetry, discharges, and for any outer and inner eye structure abnormalities. An ophthalmoscope will be used to examine the eyes.
  5. The mouth, tongue, gums, tonsils and pharynx being evaluated for abnormalities, odor and masses. The teeth are evaluated for their anatomic position, retained deciduous (or baby) teeth, calculus, plaque, discolorations, fractures, and periodontal disease.
  6. The ears are evaluated for any abnormalities, discharges, odors or discomfort. An otoscope is essential to fully evaluate the ears.
  7. Heart auscultation for the characterization of sounds, heart rate and rhythm of heart beats; and pulse palpation.
  8. Inspection for any nasal, sinus or throat abnormalities, and auscultation of the airways and lungs.
  9. Abdominal and rectal palpation to identify normal and abnormal anatomy, as well as for any sensitivity.
  10. Visual inspection and palpation of urinary and reproductive structures.
  11. Evaluation of the skin and hair coat for quality, parasites and any abnormalities.
  12. Bone structure and muscle mass assessment in relation to anatomic form and function.
  13. Evaluating the nervous system for any deficits and abnormalities.
  14. Lymph node palpation.

The history includes your pet's medical history, in conjunction with its lifestyle assessment to review physical activity, stress, nutrition, and specific needs. These important facts about your pet, as well as any knowledge about its known relatives or ancestors (if known), will greatly aid in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of disease.

Laboratory testing is another key component of assessing your pet's health, as well as for disease risk assessment and diagnosis. Specific recommendations are based on your pet's individual needs and may include blood tests, urinalysis and parasite screening. Along with the history and physical exam, it completes the data base from which your pet's healthcare plan is developed.

A comprehensive physical examination provides an opportunity for us to obtain important information about your pet for current and future use. It is an important part of preventative care for your pet through all its stages of life. It provides an opportunity to answer your questions and assist teaching you good health practices for your pet. Once complete, we will work together to establish health goals and priorities that fit you and your pet's lifestyle. Your pet's healthcare plan will incorporate short and long-term health goals with the overall objective of prolonging and maximizing your pet's enjoyment of life.

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