Physical Exams For Your Pet

Greenville and Taylors residents should think local when it comes to physical exams for their dog or cat. It is important that a veterinarian performs a complete head-to-tail physical examination at least once a year. It is just as important that your vet actually takes the time to listen to your concerns and to develop a picture of your pet’s overall health and lifestyle. At Ambassador Animal Hospital, we make it our priority to truly get to know your pet.

Your pet’s wellness examination at our Greenville animal hospital includes our commitment to:

Listening to the heart

We can spot early signs of cardiac disease, such as heart murmurs and irregular heartbeat patterns, by listening to the heart through a stethoscope. Finding early indicators of trouble can help us identify and treat the underlying condition before it becomes more serious.

Listening to the lungs

We can detect common health issues such as infections, obstructive diseases and other problems by listening to your pet’s lungs through a stethoscope. The doctor will also assess the overall pulmonary health of your pet.

Evaluating vision

Early detection is the key to maintaining your pet’s eyesight. Ocular conditions can often be prevented through regular care and screenings.

Checking the teeth and oral cavity

Dental disease is one of the most common health concerns for pets. Examining your pet’s teeth can help us see and address problems early, preventing more serious complications such as tooth loss and gum disease down the road. If you bring in your kitten or puppy, we check their teeth to make sure that they are developing an appropriate bite and losing their baby teeth at the right time. During your pet’s physical exam, we will also spend time discussing proper home dental care with you.

Looking into the ears

Like dental disease, ear disease is a relatively common issue for many pets. Contributing factors such as low-grade allergies, reactions to certain foods, swimming or bathing, mites and other parasites can all lead to otitis, or ear disease. Although many pet owners believe they can handle ear problems at home, many ear issues are difficult to detect and require medical attention.

Feeling the lymph nodes, examining the skin

By feeling the skin, we are looking for unusual lumps or swellings as well as evaluating for skin discolorations, lesions or patterns of hair loss or thinning. These can indicate the presence of more systemic problems, especially metabolic diseases, which most commonly occur in middle-aged animals. We also look for signs of allergies, infection, and parasites.

Palpating the abdomen

Our veterinarians are trained to palpate, or feel the abdomen, to check for signs of organ enlargement, pain, fluid build up, or detection of masses. If our doctor feels something unusual she will recommend further work up with diagnostic imaging such as radiographs or ultrasound.

Feeling the joints and muscles

We examine the joints, legs and other areas of the body to evaluate for swollen joints, decreased muscle tone and variations in muscle size between the limbs. We also observe your pet’s gait for developmental issues. In puppies, we look for early indications of hip or elbow problems. For older pets, we look for signs of arthritis, which can be well-treated if found early.

Doing lab work

A complete physical includes a heartworm test, parasite screening, and should include a full blood workup. Not only can a full chemistry panel and complete blood count identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill between routine examinations. Additionally, blood work is necessary if your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, removal of skin masses, or any other procedure that requires anesthesia.