The Importance Of Dog Wellness Exams

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Depending on your dog's age, he should have a wellness exam every year or every six months.

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A dog wellness exam is when when you bring your pet in at least once, maybe twice a year, and get a weight, a temperature, and a history on how he is doing. We do a full physical exam, including checking the teeth, heart, and limbs, checking for lumps and bumps, diarrhea, parasites, ear infections, and the like. It is just like your annual doctor's exam to check for things that you as an owner may not know after seeing your dog every day, that we may notice that has changed over time.

Depending on your dog's age, he should have a wellness exam every year or every six months.

If there are any concerns about thirst or urination, if their appetite's increased or decreased, if there are any stool abnormalities, vomiting issues, breath problems, mouth issues, lameness, limping, or tumors, those are all things we look at during a wellness exam.

A full wellness exam includes the exam as well as test to check for intestinal parasites, and a heartworm test that will also include a tickborne disease test. It is a small blood sample. We also send a blood sample out to the lab to do a full organ panel so they can check liver and kidney chemistries, electrolytes, and a complete blood count, to get an overall picture of your dog’s health.

Dogs do hide disease and a lot of times, they only show symptoms when the disease is advanced, so it is a good idea to have a trend. Know what your dog's normals are, and then if that trend starts changing or if we do start showing changes in their blood work, then we can address it before it becomes symptomatic.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care. It is important to feed them a very good, well-balanced dog food diet, having 90% of their calories coming from dog food rather than treats. We recommend brushing their teeth, keeping them on flea, tick, heartworm medications, spaying and neutering, and keeping them on a leash when they walk outside around other dogs, even if your dog is well behaved and well trained. Other dogs may not be and that's when we get into trouble.

Bring any medications that they're on as well as a fresh stool sample would be wonderful. If they're having any urinary issues, your doctor may ask for you to bring a urine sample. But generally just bring any medications they're on, you and your questions, and the dog.

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