A thorough history and physical examination is the first and most important step in the veterinary appointment. It is recommended for all new pets, prior to all vaccinations, and once a year for a healthier pet. Pets, especially seniors with ongoing diseases may require more frequent assessments.
If you suspect a health problem in your pet, the first step towards a diagnosis is to go over the history and physical examination with your veterinarian at Animal House Hospital.
If you are a new client to Animal House Hospital, our assessment will cover questions regarding your pet’s history, including: travel history, behavior patterns or problems, energy level, changes in urinating and defecation patterns, diet, exercise, etc.
The physical examination often encompasses an assessment of your pet’s nose, mouth, and dentition as well as an examination of their eyes and ears, and depending on the history and findings, may use an ophthalmoscope or otoscope for a more detailed view.
A stethoscope is used to auscultate the heart and lungs for abnormal sounds indicating disease. The abdomen will be palpated, allowing evaluation of the intestines, bladder, spleen, and kidneys in some cases. We will examine your pet’s coat and palpate for any abnormal lumps or bumps, hair loss, itchiness, or discomfort as well as evaluate your pet’s muscle mass and body condition.
Depending on the findings, your veterinarian may perform further examinations to assess specific body systems such as neurologic, cardiac, ophthalmic, orthopedic etc.
The history and physical examination are our tools to detect current and upcoming health problems. If abnormalities are found, further diagnostics or treatments may be recommended. Some diseases can present without abnormality on physical examination, however, many diseases can be picked up in early stages through regular physical examinations and appropriate diagnostic follow-up. Early diagnosis allows us to begin treatment in early stages of disease, often prolonging the length and quality of life for pets.