What To Expect At Your Dog’s Wellness Exam (Part Two)

Prevent disease and illness while improving your dog’s health with physical checkups!


In part one, we looked into what a wellness exam is, how often a dog exam is needed, and what happens during the exam. In today’s post, we’ll continue the conversation and get more into the details of the wellness exam and how you should prepare as a pet parent. 


At The Vet Set, your dog’s wellness is important to us, which is why we recommend a wellness exam at least once a year! Get more information surrounding this topic below! 

A Dog’s Wellness Exam   


Get into the nitty-gritty of a dog exam below!


What is assessed during the physical examination?


In the physical examination, your vet will check your dog’s body by looking at the physical appearance, listening to their organs with a stethoscope, and palpating certain areas of the body. 


The vet may also check the following:


  • How your dog stands or walks
  • Your dog’s demeanor – alert, sluggish, etc 
  • Coat condition – dry, oily, excessive shedding, hair loss, etc
  • Eyes – Excessive tearing, redness, discharge, cloudiness, bumps, etc
  • Ears – Hair loss, discharge, thickening, etc
  • Face and nose – How they breathe, discharges, etc 
  • Teeth – Looking for periodontal disease, plaque buildup, broken teeth, trauma, staining of the lips, excessive salivation, ulcers, etc


When your vet listens to your dog with a stethoscope they listen to the heart for skipped or extra beats or heart murmurs and to the lungs for abnormal breathing sounds. 


When your dog is palpated the vet will check their pulse, lymph nodes for swelling, the legs, and major organ systems including the kidneys, liver, bladder, intestines, spleen, and stomach. 


What else may happen during the exam?


Many vets will take a stool sample and evaluated for parasites, and in puppies, this is typically done a monthly basis because they are more prone to intestinal parasites. Heartworm testing may also occur and the frequency will depend on your geographical location.  


Apart from the physical exam, your vet may also want to run wellness screening tests. These tests check four major categories including:


  • Thyroid hormone
  • Blood
  • Biochemistry profile
  • Urinalysis


The panels will all vary depending on the age and current health status of your dog. Beyond the screenings, in older dogs, your vet may want to check their chest or abdominal via x-ray to get a better picture of their internal organs. The x-ray can also help identify any skeletal issues or changes in your dog’s bones and joints. 


Why is a wellness dog examination needed?


Because pets cannot verbally communicate with us they can’t tell us how they’re feeling, so a health issue or disease may be present before you even know. And because of their survival instincts, most dogs will hide signs of disease that are only causing minimal symptoms, which means when you detect something, it could be in a highly advanced stage. 


This is why dog exams are crucial — your vet can detect issues in the physical exam or investigate with further testing for any other underlying issues. If an issue can be detected before your dog shows signs of illness, steps can be taken to treat and manage the condition before irreparable damage is done. 


This not only improves a successful outcome for your dog, but it’s typically less expensive when caught in an early stage. 


Is there any one factor that elicits a dog exam?


While a wellness exam is recommended for every dog at least once a year, dog exams are especially important for geriatric dogs since they’re rapidly aging and have a greater chance for disease and health issues. 


How To Prepare For Your Wellness Exam Appointment


Before your dog’s exam, ask your vet how to prepare. This may mean fasting your dog or bringing in fresh urine and fecal samples. 


It’s also important to know what kind of food your dog eats and any supplements you’ve been giving them. 


From the physical examination of palpations and listening to your dog’s organs, checking the coat, eyes, ears, face, and mouth to running a series of panels, a dog exam is crucial to the optimal health of your pooch! 


It not only prevents disease and illness but improves a successful health outcome should your dog be diagnosed. 


For more information on our dog exams, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today! 

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To make an appointment, please call us at (917) 741-4737 or
email us at info@vetset.net.

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