The Importance of an Examination with Vaccines
At Petcetera Animal Clinic, it is our belief that each animal receiving vaccines should have a thorough examination performed at the time of vaccines. This is important for many reasons as animals are so good at covering mild illness that may progress over time into life threatening disease.
First of all, the examination time gives the veterinarian a chance to discuss any concerns that the client may have in regards to the pet. This may include anything from behavioral issues to health changes that have been noticed since the last visit.
The examination also gives the veterinarian a chance to listen to the heart and check for any changes such as newly acquired murmurs, worsening murmurs or abnormal rhythms which may indicate heart disease that needs to be addressed. Lungs will be listened to as well and any abnormalities discussed. Temperature, pulse and respiratory rate will be charted and compared to previous visits.
Dental disease is a significant issue in the pet population and an examination allows the veterinarian to check the health of teeth and gums. The oral exam is also important to look for any oral tumors that the client may not have noticed yet. If abnormalities are observed, dental/oral surgery will be discussed.
Palpation of the body will be performed to feel for tumors on the skin or in underlying tissue. Abdominal palpation may reveal internal tumors or bladder stones that would not be noticed just by looking at an animal. Lymph node palpation is also an important component of the examination, as it may reveal issues that need to be addressed such as infection or cancer.
Weight is another problem frequently encountered in the pet population and will be addressed at the time of a pet’s examination. Obesity/thinness or extreme weight increases or losses are indicators of overall health. Diet will be discussed at this time as well and recommendations will be made to improve the quality of life.
Chronic pain or disease can be discussed and recommendations will be made to make the pet more comfortable. Also, the examination is the perfect time to consider further testing of any abnormalities found. This may include bloodwork and/or x-rays.
Finally, lifestyle will be discussed and vaccine recommendations will be made in accordance to home and health. Some vaccines, known as core vaccines, should be given to all pets but others may not be needed in all situations. This ensures each pet is not vaccinated for something unnecessarily. Stool samples should be checked and dewormer will be prescribed if needed.
As this article highlights, a thorough physical examination is imperative before vaccines are administered to ensure the health and happiness of each and every pet.