Veterinary Information: The basic veterinary examination explained
Prevention is better than cure, so ensure that you take your dog to the vet for a full medical check-up once a year (more often in older dogs).
The vet will begin by giving your dog a full physical. He’ll also ask you questions about your dog’s health, eating habits, level of activity etc. This basic veterinary information helps to in guide the examination, and identify potential problems.
Veterinary Information: The Preliminary Examination
A thorough preliminary vet examination should check the following;
Eyes: Besides checking the eyes for discharges, cataracts etc. the vet will also be looking for signs of other diseases, indicated by the condition of the eyes.
Eyes: The ears will be checked for odors, discharges and foreign objects. The vet will also check the color of the skin inside the ear as well as for signs of parasites like ear mites.
Nose: It’s a common misconception that a cold wet nose indicates a healthy dog. The vet will not necessary be concerned by a dry nose unless other signs of illness are present. He will however be looking for discharge from, or physical damage to, the nose.
Mouth & Teeth: The mouth will be checked for bad breath, gum inflammation, loose teeth and other signs of tooth or gum disease. The gums also provide a means of testing blood pressure. Pale gums may indicate anaemia, a yellow tinge may indicate a liver problem.
Nails: The nails provide an indicator of limb problems – uneven wearing down of the nails may indicate a dog that is favoring one leg.
Skin & Coat: The coat is an important indicator of overall health, a dull or greasy coat could be an indicator of disease, or of poor nutrition. The vet will also check for evidence of external parasites.
Anal / genital region: Examining the anal region gives an indication of the presence of parasites like tape-worm. The anal glands will also be examined. The genital area is checked for discharges, swelling and inflammation.
The standard vet examination is relatively inexpensive and generally not covered by pet insurance.
However, should the vet discover something that requires further treatment, the cost can soon escalate. It is therefore advisable to have medical insurance for your dog.
Having completed the basic examination the vet will now examine the dog’s health in more depth. Visit the Veterinary Dog Health Problems page for more veterinary information.