At the core of the healthcare visit is a physical examination and assessment with a licensed veterinarian. This exam is crucial to assess the overall health of the pet, consider specific health concerns and conditions, formulate a diagnostic and treatment plan, and communicate with the pet owner.
When Might My Pet Need An Exam?
- Every pet, despite his/her age, gender, health status, vaccination status, species or breed, should have a preventative exam with a veterinarian at least once a year*
- When updating or beginning vaccinations
- When he/she needs labwork or radiographs
- When he/she is sick or injured
- On the day of a medical procedure – dental, surgical, and others
- To recheck an existing medical problem or condition following treatment – even if symptoms seem to have resolved
- To keep a prescription current (many expire within1 year of issue)
*In accordance with AAHA standards and best practice, we advise that all dogs and cats, despite their age, see a veterinarian at least every 6 months.
What to Expect at Your Pet’s Exam – Step by Step
Whether this is your first visit our office or any veterinarian or you’ve been to the vet many times, you may wonder what the doctor is actually examining. You can see them looking at, touching and listening to various parts of your pets body, but what are they looking at or for?
The exam process actually begins when the appointment is scheduled (or you walk in the door in an emergency). Our trained veterinary receptionists will ask questions to determine the purpose and best time for your pet’s visit; this information is recorded to better help the doctor and care team prepare for your visit before it begins.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted and a member of the medical team (typically a veterinary technician) will begin by taking a detailed medical history. This medical history includes:
- Your noted reason for the visit (as discussed over the phone at scheduling)
- General health status and visible signs (such as any vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, scratching, and changes in activity, comfort, and enjoyment of normal activities)
- Diet and exercise
- Home and play environments
- Exposure to other pets or animals
- Medications or supplements your pet is or has been taking
- Recent changes in your pet’s life or routine
- Any additional concerns or questions you have
Then they will discuss services and medical care your pet may be due for or may be appropriate for them based on their age, sex, breed, lifestyle and medical conditions. Next your pet’s vital signs will be checked – this includes:
- Weight – the doctor can discuss optimal weight for your pet and changes in weight can indicate potential emerging or hidden health issues
- Heart rate
- Breathing rate
- Mucous membrane color and responsiveness
The veterinarian then performs a hands-on physical examination of your pet, from nose to tail. This includes looking at, touching (palpating) and listening to:
- Overall appearance
- Gait (how they walk and move around)
- Mouth (including gums, teeth and beaks on birds and reptiles)
- Respiratory system and breathing
- Heart and circulation
- Abdomen and digestive tract (including the anus and rectum)
- Skeleton and joints
- Skin, hair/fur and nails
- Lymph nodes
This all may only take a few minutes, but along with the medical history, it can provide the veterinarian with essential information regarding the health of your pet. From here, he/she can formulate a treatment plan, which may include diagnostics to further evaluate your pet’s health status, vaccinations, medications, surgery or more.
“Wonderful, caring staff who went above and beyond! We brought our Eclectus parrot in for a checkup after having some concerns. Our vet technician took very thorough notes and asked a lot of questions, and the vet was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The vet tech we saw emailed shortly after our visit to check in, which I thought was really sweet! I would definitely recommend Como Park for your furry, feathered, or scaly friends.”
Schedule an Exam Today
Does your pet need an exam? Call us at (651) 487-3255 to set up an appointment (or ask us how to come see an urgent care doctor with no appointment needed). We look forward to seeing you and your pet!
Keep in touch
Monday - Thursday
8:00 am - 8:00 pm
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday
8:00 am - 2:00 pm