Just like humans, your dog should have a wellness exam. This type of examination is basically a yearly physical check-up designed to help keep your dog healthy. A wellness exam is designed to detect diseases and other issues as early as possible. The earlier health problems are detected, the sooner treatment can begin, which helps to ensure a healthy life for your dog. Routine exams help to prevent diseases, such as ear infections, diabetes, parasites and/or arthritis. Here are a few of the things you can expect your dog to be examined for during their yearly checkup.

What to Expect During a Wellness Check

There are several steps that will occur during your dog’s wellness exam. First, a history is taken about the dog’s lifestyle. The vet will then take their temperature, check pulse and respiration rates and gets their weight. All of this information will be recorded in order to help determine any changes between this appointment and the next appointment. The dog’s ears, eyes, mouth, heart, lungs, lymph nodes, musculoskeletal system and abdomen are also examined. Should the vet suspect any issues additional tests may be ordered and/or treatment for certain problems will be addressed, such as additional dental care or nutritional counseling. Other issues addressed during the examination will include:

Vaccinations – Immunizations can save your dog’s life. Diseases that previously caused serious illnesses and even death in animals are now often prevented as a result of available immunizations. Vaccinated dogs are at a much less risk of contracting diseases such as rabies, parvovirus and canine distemper.

Heartworm Disease – This is an infection caused by a parasite known as a dirofilaria immitis, which is a type of microscopic worm that is transmitted to animals from a female mosquito. As the parasite develops, it begins to migrate to the pulmonary arteries (large blood vessels that connect the heart and lungs). As this parasite matures into an adult heartworm, it obstructs the normal flow of blood from the heart through the pulmonary artery and into the lungs. If not caught and treated immediately, this can lead to a wide range of serious health issues and potential death.

Other Parasites Roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and/or whipworms can also lead to serious conditions. For example, roundworms are typically found in the small intestine of the host and they can be transmitted between animals and humans. Roundworms in pets as well as humans can cause serious conditions, including vision loss. Tapeworms are also located in the small intestine. Tapeworms also can be transmitted from animals to humans and can ultimately create serious, life-threatening health issues for animals as well as humans.
In most situations, a wellness exam is recommended once a year. However, if your dog experiences certain health problems, such as obesity, arthritis or diabetes, your veterinarian may want to see the dog more frequently. If you suspect your dog may have worms, parasites or other illnesses at any time between the scheduled wellness exams, it is important to make an appointment for an examination as soon as you become aware of a potential problem.

Contact Animal Care Veterinary Hospital to schedule a wellness check for your pet and/or for more information about what to expect and/or prepare your pet for an annual wellness check.