When you schedule an annual veterinary check-up with a South Coast veterinarian, it’s a good idea to know what to expect. When you bring your pet in for a visit at our Dartmouth veterinary hospital, make sure to bring any previous veterinary records if you are coming from a different veterinarian. If your pet received services at an emergency facility or hospital, ask them to forward your records to us as well. If your pet is taking any medications, including heartworm preventive or flea and tick treatments, bring in a list or even the bottles of all those prescriptions. Be prepared to share information about the name brand and amount of pet food and treats that your pet eats on a regular basis.
Call to Schedule an Appointment
The first step will be to call and make an appointment for an annual check-up to provide comprehensive vet care for cats and dogs. When you call, our receptionist may ask you to bring in a urine or stool sample for your pet. If so, they will discuss the methods for collection and how to carry it into our office. Our team will update all contact information with you, along with any pet healthcare insurance details for the file.
Arriving at the Office
When you come to our Dartmouth veterinary hospital, make sure to be a smart pet owner and keep your pet on a leash or in a pet carrier. We require this of all our clients to ensure that no one gets loose or has a problem meeting “new friends” in the waiting room. Depending on any emergencies that might be occurring at our office, you may need to wait for a few minutes to be seen. If this is an annual check-up with the South Coast veterinarian, expect your pet to be weighed before heading into the room for the physical exam.
A veterinary check-up starts by taking the pet’s temperature. This is similar to what happens when you visit your doctor for a check-up. The normal temperature for pets can vary between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Pet temperatures are taken rectally – or they would bite the thermometer – so when you see your vet lift your pet’s tail, don’t be alarmed. It causes no discomfort, and elevated temperature can be a sign of illness. This may be performed by your vet or by a veterinary assistant.
The Physical Exam
Your Dartmouth veterinary hospital will now begin the check-up to provide quality vet care for cats and dogs. The exam usually begins with a look at your pet’s skin and coat, which are indicators of your pet’s health. Your dog’s coat should be shiny and not coarse or brittle, even in wire-haired breeds. The skin itself should be clean and healthy, not flaky, greasy, or have a rash. The majority of skin and coat issues have to do with diet, so your South Coast veterinarian might ask you about your pet’s diet at this point if anything is wrong. Your vet will also examine your pet’s ears to determine if allergies or infections are a problem. If an ear infection is noticed early, it can be treated before it becomes serious.
Your vet will also want to use a stethoscope to check your pet’s lungs and listen to heart sounds. Certain heart rhythm and heart valve problems can occur commonly in dogs, so it is important to listen. If an issue is indicated, a cardiac workup might be suggested. A good exam of your pet’s abdomen will also be performed to see what’s going on inside. A look inside your pet’s mouth is also important, as oral hygiene and pet dentistry can help to prevent other potential problems. Pets that have infected gums, loose teeth, or oral tumors will require treatment right away. Our pets are good at hiding pain, especially mouth pain.
Your pet’s eyes will also be checked to detect early formations of cataracts or for inflammation of the eye structure. Many common issues with eye exams include simple eye irritations due to allergies, dust, and pollen, which is quite similar to humans. Your vet will also check your pet’s paws and toenails. Long nails will be clipped, and pads will be inspected to ensure that there isn’t any damage. Vet care for cats and dogs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island can often include pad damage in the winter due to contact with snow, ice, rock salt, and other deicing chemicals. Unless there were any signs or symptoms noted, this would likely be the end of the physical exam.
Annual Veterinary Check-Up in Dartmouth
Once the physical exam is over, your vet will likely discuss preventive treatments, medications, and vaccinations with you. If you have any questions about your pet’s health or want to discuss treatment options, now is the time to talk. If you have other questions about vet care for cats and dogs at Anchor Animal Hospital, view our FAQ Section to see a full list of frequently asked questions. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to schedule an exam or to learn more about our Dartmouth veterinary hospital.