Annual Physical Exam
At Parkside, we believe the annual exam is the very foundation of ensuring your pets’ health, happiness and longevity. The quality of a physical exam is determined by having enough time to be thorough with the History, Current Health Status, hands on Examination and of course Client Education on what health risks exist, could emerge and of course what action can be taken to enhance the wellbeing and longevity of your pet.
There are an incredible number of illness that can cause your pet to suffer silently and/or live an unnecessarily short life that are identified through routine physical exams and vaccinations. As your pet ages their health conditions change. It is important to note that your pet’s biology changes faster than ours – having a physical once a year is like a person having one every 5 years.
History & Current Health Status:
It starts with gathering a detailed history, this includes where your pet came from, what their day is like, medical history, family history and recent concerns. Your pet’s life story can give us a lot of information on what to watch out for on their behalf. Next we discuss basic information on biological systems; for example a simple change in drinking habits can help your veterinarian determine if we need to consider kidney disease, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, neoplasia, dental disease and obsessive compulsive disorders, etc. The more information you know about your pet, collected by observing their behaviour, the earlier a possibly life threatening disease can be detected – the greater the chance it can be prevented and/or treated. Then follows a discussion about exposure to possible diseases, parasites and risk factors. This includes travel history (both past and future), exposure to other animals, and exposure to hosts that carry parasite (poo, mice, fleas, snails, etc.) For example a dog that is travelling to Florida this winter (lucky dog!) is at a much higher risk of heart worm disease. Once we are aware of your pet’s environment your veterinarian can help to protect them from things that are out there.
The next phase is a hands on snout to tail evaluation! The evaluation includes looking at your pet’s nose, skin and coat, eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, neck, lymph nodes, musculoskeletal system, chest (breathing/heart rate & sound), abdomen (palpation of organs), temperature, weight and neurologic function.
One of the biggest obstacles all Veterinarians face, in their goal of effective prevention, treatment and care of animals – is a clients’ lack of awareness. This typically happens because an owner is not given enough time with their veterinary team and/or have been poorly advised by other members of society or the internet. At Parkside we know our clients are receptive and eager to know what’s true and what’s not about their pet’s health because it will impact what matters so dearly to them. The entire Parkside team is trained to ensure you leave our office with useful information, to enhance your pet’s life. The education component specifically covers some of the most common things that are harmful to pets, the options they should know about preventative health management and the options for care/treatment of their pet at their stage in life. General information is also discussed at length; such as how to decide between many food options, foods to avoid, hazards, what to do when an emergency arises, breed specific recommendations, behavior management / training and specifically what to look out for. Remember your pet cannot talk, they depend upon you to keep them safe. It is our mandate at Parkside to provide you with the information and tools to keep your pet happy and healthy. Remember early detection starts with a vigilant owner who is not afraid to call our office when something is not quite right with their pet.