Wellness Exam

Does your dog seem to have lost interest in playing fetch? Healthy dogs never tire of playing! If he could talk, your dog might tell you it’s because chasing sticks makes him short of breath.

When you throw the stick, does your dog have to hunt a bit to find where it landed? Perhaps he can’t track it because of failing vision or a neurological problem.

Does your cat vomit after eating? You might think that’s because she ate too much. But if your cat could talk, you might learn she has a stomach ache even when she hasn’t eaten.

How often do you watch to see if your animal is having trouble going to the bathroom? Would you know whether there is blood in his urine or worms in his stool?

Unfortunately, our pets do not talk to us about their problems breathing, headaches, painful urination, creaking joints, lightheadedness, toothaches, easy fatigue, stomach pains, heart palpitations, the itch that is driving them crazy, or any other complaints. Nevertheless, you can be sure they feel as bad as we do from time to time, because pets experience the same health issues as do people.

Luckily, these are some of the many types of problems that Dr. Baker can identify during your pet’s Wellness Examination.

During a Wellness Exam, Dr. Baker assesses an animal’s mental status and emotional state, checks his skin and fur, and looks for signs of neurological problems in his stance and gait. Dr. Baker can detect breathing or heart problems by listening to the animal’s chest. When he feels around the animal’s midsection, the doctor is looking for enlargement or hardness of organs indicating changes that require further investigation. Dr. Baker runs his hands down the animal’s limbs and flexes her joints to find bumps or sore spots that indicate joint issues or bone problems. He also looks for abnormalities in the pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth, and checks for obvious problems with the teeth. Through what may appear to be a simple physical examination, Dr. Baker can identify an enormous list of health issues, thanks to his professional training and years of experience.

A wellness exam would not be complete without a heartworm and intestinal parasite check. Pet owners should bring a stool sample from the pet to the appointment, for microscopic examination. Dr. Baker may recommend other diagnostic testing, based on the animal’s age, lifestyle, existing health problems, and his findings during the animal’s physical examination.

Here are two facts to consider when deciding whether your pet will benefit from a Wellness Exam:

1. Disease progresses faster in our pets than it does in us because animals age faster than people do.

2. A disease is usually well-established by the time it produces symptoms that can be noticed by the pet’s owner.

These facts make plain that the earlier a pet’s health problems can be discovered, and the sooner treatment can begin, the better are the chances of restoring his health.

Animals should receive a Wellness Exam at least once each year. These exams are available year-round at Hillsdale Veterinary Hospital. For extra convenience, we are happy to combine your pet's Wellness Exam and Preventive Care into one appointment.