Your pet's annual vet check-up will include a total physical exam. The technician will request information regarding your pet's health and lifestyle. This will include details regarding general management, medication history, allergies, reproductive status as well as behavioral/household information. The technician may draw blood, record vital signs and prepare various samples for the veterinarian to review. The veterinarian performs a complete "nose to tail" hands on physical exam including the oral cavity, eyes, ears, skin, respirations, cardiovascular health, gastrointestinal health, urinary/reproductive health, lymph nodes, musculoskeletal and nervous system health. During the exam you are encouraged to discuss your pets health with our veterinarians and staff. It's a good idea to keep an accurate medical diary not only of the procedures and vaccinations your pet receives at the vet, but also of notes on things like your pet's elimination habits and any physical changes or unusual occurrences. Keep track of small shifts in your pet's behavior, including urinary marking habits and mood swings, along with diet and routine modifications. Take this notebook when you visit the vet. These seemingly unrelated occurrences may help explain results of your pet's medical tests. Also, if you need to change vets, it's good to have this journal to provide a complete medical history.
Choose a veterinarian who is calm, compassionate and willing to explain all the procedures your pet undergoes. Try to find a vet with whom both you and your pet feel comfortable. Try to have it convenient, choose a clinic with qualified staff and facilities to undertake surgery and perform procedures requiring anesthesia, such as teeth cleaning. Because of the general risks inherent to anesthesia, especially for very old, very young or very ill pets, your veterinarian will likely suggest an exam, including a chest X-ray and lab work of blood and urine, before your pet is anesthetized.
Your veterinarian may refer you to a specialist, veterinarians who have completed advanced studies in specialties such as internal medicine, surgery, and emergency care, if your pet must undergo a procedure that requires more precise knowledge and experience.