At Mayfair Animal Hospital, we recommend regular wellness exams to help our veterinarians evaluate your pet’s general health and to become aware of any health problems before they become serious. For our patients over seven, we recommend a senior screening annually.
It is important that your pet receive a comprehensive wellness exam at least once a year. Since pets age faster than we do, one year between visits is about equivalent to you seeing your doctor once every five years!
We will ask a lot of questions about your pet when you bring him or her in for a comprehensive wellness exam. Please tell us about any unusual behavior you have noticed, such as:
Eating more than usual
Excessive drinking of water
Weight gain or loss
We will also want to know about your pet’s daily behavior, including diet, exercise, heartworm and flea prevention, as well as any other medications your pet is taking, so we can advise you on the appropriate products for your pet.
At the beginning of every exam, we will weigh your pet and a technician or assistant will take your pet’s temperature, pulse and respiration (breathing) rate. If your pet has gained weight since the last time we saw him or her, the veterinarian will want to talk with you about diet and exercise. Obesity in pets can be a serious detriment to their health.
When the veterinarian comes in, he or she will look over your pet in great detail, from nose to tail. Here are some of the key things the veterinarian will look at:
Ears: We may ask you if your pet has been shaking or scratching at his or her head, or if you have noticed any odor from your pet’s ears. The ear canals protect the inner ear, but can also house parasites or an infection. They will be closely inspected to be sure they are healthy. The veterinarian will look deep inside your pet's ears using an otoscope.
Eyes: A thorough eye examination can show signs of many health issues, including anemia, infections, glaucoma, cataracts, high blood pressure, jaundice, kidney problems, allergies, eye injuries or eye ulcers. The eyes can even tell us about your pet’s nutritional health. The veterinarian will examine the outer part of the eye and use an instrument called an ophthalmoscope to look inside your pet’s eyes.
Mouth: Your veterinarian will inspect your pet’s gums, teeth, tongue and palate (roof of the mouth) for tartar buildup, dental abnormalities, tooth fractures, loose teeth, tumors, infection or other problems. He or she will discuss with you the importance of regular at-home and professional teeth cleaning to prevent periodontal disease, which can not only cause bad breath and tooth loss, but also spread infection through the blood to other organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver.
Heart and Lungs: The veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s heart and lungs for any signs of disease or murmurs.
Reproductive Organs: If your pet has not been spayed or neutered, we will discuss with you the many health benefits of spaying and neutering beyond just birth control. The veterinarian will check for any swellings, discharges and breast masses.
Skin: As your pet’s largest organ, the skin is a good gauge of overall health. We will check your pet’s skin and fur for fleas, ticks, other external parasites, tumors, wounds, as well as signs of allergies, infections and warts.
All Over: The veterinarian will feel your pet’s abdomen for abnormalities, including enlarged organs, masses or painful areas. He or she will also examine your pet’s legs and feet and the condition of their joints, muscles, lymph nodes and nose.
Vaccinations: Vaccinations are one of the most important preventive measures you can take to insure the health of your pet. We recommend vaccinating dogs against distemper, hepatitis, leptosporosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus, Bordetella, and rabies. The first six viruses named are usually given in a combination vaccine you may see referred to as a DHLPP. You may also choose to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease, depending on his or her lifestyle. Cats should be vaccinated against feline panleukopenia (distemper), feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and chlamydia with a combination vaccine called FVRCP, as well as a rabies vaccine. In North Carolina, the rabies vaccine is required by law. You may also choose to vaccinate your cat for feline leukemia (FeLV) depending on his or her lifestyle.
Don't be afraid to ask our veterinarians, technicians, assistants or client care specialists any of your questions. We're here to help!