The best way to treat a problem is to catch it! Preventative care is the key to wellness.
Preventative medicine is how we best manage any health issue, both short and long term. The earlier we spot signs of problems, the quicker we can help keep your pet from getting really sick and suffering.
The most important component of preventative medicine is the wellness visit. Regular wellness visits are essential. They give us the chance to monitor and observe your pet, educate you on any issues or concerns, and tailor your pet’s care to best fit his or her needs.
The physical exam is the most important part of the wellness visit. This is when the vet examines your pet carefully and thoroughly. We call this our “nose-to-tail time.”
What to Expect at a Wellness Visit
Wellness visits are all about prevention. A skilled AHBC vet nurse will obtain a thorough medical history, which includes your pet’s diet, lifestyle, and habits. We will also take vital signs: weight, temperature, pulse, and respiratory rate.
During the physical exam, Dr. Goetz or Dr. George will examine your pet’s mouth and teeth, eyes, and ears. She will feel the lymph nodes for enlargement and the joints—shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, spine—for any issues with movement, stiffness, or pain.
The vet will listen to your pet’s heart to check for heart murmurs and irregular heart rhythms, and listen to the lungs for congestion and wheezing. Palpating the abdomen checks for organ enlargement, masses, pain, and fluid, as well as the size and shape of the kidneys. We often perform brief rectal exams in older dogs, to check for anal gland tumors, infections, and the prostate (in males).
The wellness visit and physical exam are vital because many problems are present with virtually no symptoms. Heart murmurs, joint pain, infected anal glands, skin or ear infections, and even abdominal tumors can all go undetected by the naked eye. Animals are conditioned by their survival instinct to hide even the smallest sign of trouble.
Did you know approximately 50 percent of normal, healthy dogs have an abnormal finding upon physical examination? No matter how minor, catching a problem fast helps your pet live a long, happy, healthy life.
Request an appointment online or call us at (919) 544-2226.