What Screenings Are Done During Pet Checkups?

If you’ve ever furrowed your brow in confusion while looking through the list of services offered during a pet checkup, you’re not alone. It’s sometimes a jumble of medical jargon that might make our heads spin. We love our furry friends to the moon and back, and ensuring they’re in tip-top shape is a priority for all pet parents.

So, let’s break down the screenings that are typically carried out during those important vet visits. Grasping what happens during a veterinary checkup can make the experience less daunting for both you and your pet. After all, knowledge is comforting.

Vital Signs Assessment

Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration (TPR)

Just like in humans, a baseline is important for assessing health. During a vet checkup, the vet will take your pet’s temperature to ensure it’s within the normal range. An abnormal temperature can indicate infection or other health issues. The pulse rate is checked to make sure the heart is strong and healthy, and respiration is observed for any difficulties or irregularities in breathing.


Tracking weight changes is crucial in pets, just as it is in people. Weight loss might indicate a metabolic or hormonal disorder, while weight gain could point to lifestyle issues or other health concerns.

Physical Exam from Nose to Tail

Coat and Skin

A glossy coat and smooth skin are signs of good health. The vet will check for any abnormalities like bald patches, excessive dandruff, or signs of fleas and ticks.

Eyes, Ears, and Nose

Healthy eyes should be clear and bright. Ears should be clean and odor-free, and your pet’s nose ought to be moist yet not runny. The vet looks for any indicators of potential problems, such as discharge, redness, or inflammation.

Mouth and Teeth

Oral health is a window to overall wellness. The vet will inspect your pet’s mouth for tartar buildup, gum disease, or any signs of tooth decay. A recommendation might be made to see a veterinary dentist in Springfield, TN, especially if your pet requires professional dental care to address any issues before they become major concerns.

The Deeper Look: Internal Health Checks

Heart and Lung Examination

The stethoscope comes into play as the vet listens to your pet’s heart and lungs. The goal is to detect any abnormalities like heart murmurs, irregular heartbeat, or labored breathing that could hint at underlying conditions.

Palpations and Joint Movements

Feeling the abdomen can reveal a lot about the state of your pet’s internal organs. The vet also checks the joints for pain, swelling, or limited movement to assess if arthritis or other joint issues could be on the horizon.

Lab Work and Other Tests

Blood Work

A tiny needle and a few seconds are all it takes to obtain a sample that provides a wealth of information. By analyzing the blood sample, vets can evaluate organ function, red and white blood cell counts, and other vital metrics of health.

Urine and Fecal Tests

Gleaned from these not-so-pleasant samples are clues about kidney function, hydration status, liver health, and often, the presence of parasites or infections that require attention.

Screening for the Unexpected: Preventive Care

Annual or bi-annual checkups often include preventive screenings, even if your pet seems the picture of health. This approach is similar to doing regular maintenance on your car; it’s all about catching potential issues before they escalate into substantial problems. Alongside dog vaccinations that prevent serious diseases, a standard set of screenings for our four-legged friends typically encompasses checking for heartworms and evaluating the effectiveness of tick and flea prevention measures. Such vigilance is key in ensuring our pets lead healthy, happy lives.

When to Schedule That Next Checkup

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the frequency of vet visits. Puppies and kittens have their own set schedule for the barrage of initial vaccines and health checks. Adult pets might only need an annual visit, while seniors and those with health issues could benefit from bi-annual assessments. Of course, if you notice any health concerns between regular visits, it’s important to schedule an extra checkup.

Concluding Your Pet’s Health Check

Communication with your vet is key. A good vet will walk you through the examination findings, making sure you understand your pet’s health status. They’ll also provide advice on any changes in diet, exercise, or at-home care required to keep your pet bouncing happily along.

Final Thoughts

Pet checkups might seem routine, but they’re an integral part of your pet’s health. They’re the equivalent of your pet putting on a little superhero cape and taking preventative steps toward battling the villains of diseases and common health disorders. So, remember those screenings and checks? They’re more than just a formality; they’re the cornerstone of ensuring that your furball remains healthy and happy for years to come.

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