What to Expect at an Annual Well Visit

Annual veterinary checkups are an important part of pet ownership.  While well exams may differ according to the type of pet, there are a few basic components:

History

This is usually taken by a veterinary technician.  He or she will weigh your pet.  Depending upon the species, a temperature may be taken.  You should be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • What do you feed your pet?  How much and how often are they fed?
  • Are they on any medications, including heartworm or flea prevention?
  • Have you noticed any change in their appetite or behavior recently?

Physical Examination

The veterinarian will examine your pet from head to tail. Findings will be noted in the chart to serve as a baseline comparison for future visits.  This physical evaluation should include:

  • Check eyes and ears for signs of inflammation, irritation, and abnormalities
  • Evaluate mouth and teeth for signs of decay, infection, and periodontal disease
  • Palpate for masses/growths
  • Listen to heart and lungs
  • Fecal testing to check for internal parasites

Other tests and evaluations may be needed depending upon the species or symptoms.

Vaccinations

The veterinarian should advise you of any vaccinations recommended for your pet.  Some are required and others are optional.  Discuss your lifestyle and pet’s living conditions with your veterinarian to decide what’s best for your pet.

After The Exam

The veterinarian will share his or her observations and make suggestions to improve your pet’s quality of life.  If any health issues were discovered, treatment recommendations will be discussed.  Be sure to ask any questions or discuss any concerns you have. Your pet depends on you to be its voice and caretaker.  

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