Celebrate the new year by committing to your furry friends’ health Annual Wellness Exam
Croton Animal Hospital recommends that healthy dogs and cats visit the veterinarian once a year for a complete exam and laboratory testing. For senior petizens, the frequency of wellness exams should be determined on an individual basis, taking into account the pet’s species, breed and environment.

During a wellness exam, your pet will be examined from head to tail to evaluate your pet’s general health and help keep him in tip-top shape. Vital Statistics Your pet’s temperature, pulse, respiration rate and body weight will be recorded. Your veterinarian can help you develop an appropriate diet and exercise plan.

Ears Your pet’s ears will be thoroughly examined. Ear canals protect the inner ear, but can also become a home for parasites and other foreign objects. Eyes Eye examinations—including observation of the inner structures and outward appearances—often reveal many health issues, including anemia, infections, glaucoma, cataracts, high blood pressure, jaundice, kidney problems and allergies, in addition to eye injuries and ulcers. Mouth Inspect your pet’s gums, teeth, tongue and palate for tartar buildup, dental abnormalities, fractures, loose teeth, tumors, infection and other problems. Your veterinarian will discuss the importance of regular at-home and professional teeth cleaning to prevent periodontal disease, which can cause bad breath and tooth loss. Heart and Lungs A stethoscope is used to listen to your pet’s heart and lungs for early signs of heart and respiratory disease.

Reproductive Organs If your pet has not been spayed or neutered, your veterinarian may discuss the many health benefits beyond just birth control. Your pet’s reproductive system will be checked for swellings, discharges and lumps. Skin Your pet’s skin and coat is a good gauge of overall health, and will be checked for fleas, ticks, other external parasites, tumors and wounds, as well as signs of allergies and infection. Head to Toe to Tail Your pet’s abdomen will be checked for abnormalities to detect problems with the stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver and other organs.

They’ll also examine your pet’s legs and feet, and the condition of your pet’s joints, muscles, lymph nodes and nose. Laboratory Testing During your pet’s wellness exam, your veterinarian may recommend additional testing using a sample of blood, urine, skin, hair or feces. When your pet is healthy, laboratory tests establish your pet’s “baseline” values. Then, if your pet ever gets sick, current results are compared to baseline values to determine any abnormalities, confirm the presence of certain illnesses and rule out other diseases.

Vaccinations Vaccinations are one of the most important preventive measures you can take for the health of your pet. Dogs can be immunized against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus, Bordetella, rabies, and Lyme disease. Cats can be immunized against feline panleukopenia (distemper), rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia, feline leukemia, and FIP. How frequently your pet is vaccinated depends on many factors, based on your pet’s species and unique environment and lifestyle. Help your pet start the new year on the right paw with a complete wellness exam. You’ll enjoy some peace of mind and your pet will enjoy a happier, healthier life.

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