Our office visits are divided into five categories:
- Wellness Examinations
- Unwell or Injury Examinations
- Medical Progress Examinations
- Chronic Disease Examinations
An examination for your pet is considered to be a wellness exam when you have not noticed an obvious problem or illness at home. Similar to when humans go to the Doctor for their physicals. Every time your pet enters a new life stage you will get information on what to expect in regards to their wellness and veterinary care. You will notice that veterinary care is intensified when they are very young and very old (like humans, too). It’s a common misconception for owners to think that check-ups are only for sick pets and don’t realize that preventive wellness examinations are important to keep your pet healthy and prevent problems before they become serious.
When you have a young puppy or kitten, we recommend that you bring them in four times in their first year. First, at 8 weeks of age for their initial vaccinations. This will allow us to meet your new furry friend, ensure they are healthy, and check that there are no congenital or inherited diseases. We will get them on a diet that is suitable for them and set up their flea prevention and deworming schedules. At the visits we will monitor their growth and development, discuss socialization, training, and answer any questions you may have while boosting their vaccinations. At their final puppy or kitten visit we will discuss either spaying or neutering your pet at 6 months of age.
The next life stage is the Adult stage. For dogs this stage goes from 1 year of age to 7 years old, for cats it is from when they are 1 year old to 8 years of age. In this stage we do not expect many problems. We will concentrate on good nutrition, exercise, and play. After 5 years of age we offer the Early Detection Program for our pets when they are approaching the senior stage. This includes a general blood panel that gives us a complete blood count that screens for anemia and abnormalities in blood cells as well as a serum chemistry panel that will screen for liver, kidney, and pancreas problems.
When your pet becomes a senior patient, even though they may still be young at heart, the American Animal Hospital Association recommends that your pet sees a veterinarian every 6 months. In this age we like to start a more in depth program called the Senior Wellness Program. Like the Adult testing it includes a complete blood count to check for anemia and other blood cell diseases, Serum chemistry panel that will screen for liver, kidney, and pancreas problems. On top of that we will check their electrolytes, thyroid levels, and run a complete urinalysis, and add a specific blood test for kidney disease that can detect it 9 months prior to seeing any abnormalities in the general blood testing. We will check their blood pressure and also do survey radiographs (x-rays). We recommend radiographs in addition to everything else because blood and urine testing can only show a piece of the puzzle. If your pet has spinal problems, a tumor, bladder stones, or heart disease it may not be detected from blood and urine samples alone.
We would like to see small animals; such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, ferrets, birds, etc. once a year for their wellness examinations. Like a dog or cat, the Doctor will perform a full physical exam and recommend a fecal gram stain to check for parasites and bacteria and any other diagnostics or treatments that are needed. Small animals tend to hide their illnesses well and most owners do not know their pet is sick until they are very ill. This is why it is important to keep your pets up to date with their wellness examinations so we can help you prevent illnesses in your pet.
If your pet is sick, unwell, or injured – please call us right away for your appointment. We will start a discussion of what you noticed at home and vital signs will be taken by a Veterinary Assistant (these include temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and mucus membrane colour). One of our Veterinarians will be updated with the findings and start to perform their full physical examination. After this is complete they will discuss their examination findings and you will then be presented with a treatment plan outlining the recommendations from our Doctors – rest assured that we will not recommend anything that your pet does not need! Your pet may need to stay in the hospital for a few hours while testing and diagnostics are run. This can include blood work, radiographs, an ear or skin cytology, urinalysis, etc. You and your will be sent home with all of the results from any testing done, medications, instructions, and an appointment for a medical progress exam to ensure they are improving at home.
After we see your pet for their initial unwell or injury examination we will need to see them back in the clinic for a Medical Progress Examination. This happens from 2-3 days up to two weeks after their visit. One of our Veterinarians or Veterinary assistants will let you know when we need to see your pet back and book this for you. Our staff will get a history of how your pet has been at home since we last saw them and answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Our Veterinarian will then start their follow up examination to ensure that medications and treatments at home were successful and that there has been an improvement in your pet’s health.
These examinations are done if your pet has been seen and was diagnosed with an ongoing medical issue requiring us to see them more than the average patient throughout the year. Some of these conditions are diabetes, thyroid conditions, epilepsy, heart disease, etc. Our veterinarians will perform a physical exam at each visit and let you know if any diagnostics or tests need to be done to ensure that any medications that are prescribed are still the correct and the dose is still effective.
Sometimes, consultations are done without your pet even being in the clinic! These can be booked with our Doctors to go over laboratory results, set up treatment plans, or better to understand any medical issues that your pet may be diagnosed with. Consultations can include a full physical examination if necessary, for example: if you wanted a second opinion on a matter. Consultations regarding the ending of a pet’s life (euthanasia) will involve a physical examination.