Physical exams are just as important for your pet as they are for you and me. They are probably even more important because your dog or cat can't tell you when they need to go to the doctor! There may be signs from your pet that they are sick, such as laziness, lack of appetite, change in demeanor, among others. If you notice these symptoms you should schedule an appointment with your vet. Even if your pet seems to be perfectly healthy, you should bring them in for a physical exam at least once a year, and more often if they are older. Your pet's exam will be very similar to a physical you would have, including checking:
Ears: The ears are checked for infections and also for parasites, as this is a common place for them to nest.
Eyes: The eyes are checked for cataracts, retina disease, signs of glaucoma, and other abnormalities. These can all results in blindness, so it is important to check for them regularly.
Mouth: Gum disease, lesions, tooth loss, and throat problems all affect dogs and cats. They could be signs of larger problems. Performing a full mouth examination allows us to diagnose any problems and take care of them before becoming serious.
Internal Organs: The internal organs are examined to check that they are functioning properly. The abdominal area can be checked by hand for any growths or tumors. A stethoscope is used to make sure the lungs are functioning properly and are also used to check heart rate. An ultrasound can also be performed to provide a view of the organs to visually check for anything out of the ordinary.
Skin and Coat: This is checked to make sure that there are no fleas, ticks or other parasites that have made your pet their home.
If any potential problems are uncovered further tests and examination may be necessary to rule out the disease, or properly diagnose it so that it can be treated.