Your Pet's Routine Exam: Questions to Ask Your Vet

Being prepared for your pet's veterinary appointment can help ease your stress and make it a pleasant experience. Our La Mesa vets talk about what to expect during the routine exam and share some questions that you may want to ask during the visit.

What to Expect at Your Pet's Physical Examination

When you bring your dog or cat to our La Mesa veterinary clinic for a vet checkup, we will take a look at the medical history of your pet as well as discuss any concerns that you may have.

After these initial steps, your vet will continue with performing a full physical examination which may include any of the following:

  • Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
  • Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
  • Checking your pet's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
  • Inspecting the pet's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
  • Looking at your pet's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
  • Looking at your pet's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
  • Examining the condition of your pet's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
  • Examining your dog or cat's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
  • Palpate your pet's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
  • Feeling along your pet's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain

These tests are crucial to monitoring your pet's health and can help to give your vet insight into itthe overall health of your cat or dog. Because our dogs and cats cannot tell us when they are in pain, these tests and checks help to determine how your pet is feeling in general.

What are some of the questions that I should ask the vet?

If you take the time before a veterinary visit to prepare yourself and your pet then you are more likely to have a pleasant experience. Having your veterinary questions ready allows you to get all the information you need to care for your cat or dog and keep them happy and healthy.

Below, the vets at our La Mesa animal clinic explain some questions you should have ready to ask your vet and discuss why they are important:

Is my pet up to date on vaccinations or should we schedule them?

Vaccines are a vital part of routine care in order to provide your pet with lifelong health. They have to be kept up to date to help protect them from a wide range of serious and often life-threatening illnesses and diseases. The vets at our La Mesa vet clinic always do their best to inform you when your pet is due for their booster shots however, it can sometimes be overlooked so it's always best to ask. 

Is the behavior of my pet normal for their age and breed?

Sometimes your pet begins to behave in a way that is expected, whether its scratching or biting out of nowhere or suddenly bouts of sneezing. Always keep track of these behaviors and consult with your veterinarian if you suspect an underlying condition. You should also tell your veterinarian when these behaviors occurred so they can make an accurate diagnosis.

Am I meeting the dietary requirement of my pet?

It can be difficult to determine whether your pet is overweight or underweight. Pets of all breeds and ages must adhere to specific weight guidelines in order to live healthy lives. Even a few extra pounds over or underweight can put your pet at risk for a variety of health problems (some of which are life-threatening), making this a critical question. If your cat or dog is overweight, your veterinarian will work with you to develop a diet and exercise plan to help your pet lose weight.

Is there any recommended parasite prevention that we should look into?

Fleas and ticks are bothersome for both pets and their owners, and they can spread serious diseases. With so many different products available, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you and your pet. Fortunately, your veterinarian will be able to recommend or prescribe a prevention product that will work best for your pet.

Can you help me to understand the items on my bill?

At the end of the visit, you may be tempted to just pay the bill and leave but consider staying a moment and asking these questions. To give you a better understanding of the services offered, your veterinarian will be able to break down the costs and explain what each fee represents. It can also help you plan your next visit.

If you would like to learn more about what to expect during your pet's veterinary visit please contact our vets in La Mesa today.