Brookfield veterinarians evaluate 11 major areas of your pet’s body each time they do an exam. Care to look at your pet through a vet’s eyes? We’ve built a quiz that allows you to do just that!
Congratulations! Your pet passed his or her physical examination! Now be sure to schedule an appointment with us for his or her annual blood screen. The blood screen will ensure that your pet is feeling as good on the inside as he or she is looking/acting on the outside. You can contact us here.
According to Dr. Michelle Fabriani, a veterinarian specializing in radiology, an astounding 80% of dogs over the age of 9 have at least 8 problems in any of the 11 areas that we covered in this survey, so if your pet scored low, he or she is not alone. Please reach out to us so we can help. Your pet can live a long and happy life in your care, but we have to treat illness before it becomes serious.
#1 Overall Appearance
How your pet appears is very important. Weight loss and a dull coat are significantly worrisome and could very well mean your pet is ill. While lower levels of activity in older pets is not uncommon in the aged, it is often tied to pain related to arthritis or disease. If you selected any response other than the first, a veterinary visit is advised.
Most pets over the age of 3 have some degree of dental disease. Dental disease in pets is characterized by tartar build up (this looks like light brown, dark brown, or black buildup on the teeth near the gum line), gum redness, gum bleeding, and odiferous breath. Dental disease is progressive and indicative of an active infection in your pet’s mouth that is putting stress on his or her immune system. Without treatment, dental disease will decrease your pet’s life span and cause him or her significant discomfort. Additionally, bad breath associated with dental disease will inhibit the two of you from being close. Dental disease is best treated in its earliest stages before it causes irreparable tooth and bone loss. Large breed dogs typically require 2 cleanings in their lifetime, but smaller breeds usually require more. Cats benefit from 2 to 3 cleanings in their lifetime. Certainly if you see any growths in your pet’s mouth, they should be evaluated by a Brookfield veterinarian as soon as possible.
#3 Mucous membranes
A mucous membrane is any epithelial tissue that secrets mucous. The mucous membrane that our vets look at during an examination are the gums. Healthy gums are wet, slippery and coral pink. In some breeds, gums are darkly pigmented, but they still should feel slippery and wet and they still should quickly refill with blood if you press on them and then release. Gums that are pale, that are tacky, and that do not refill quickly when you press on them are a sign that your pet is unwell. You should call us for an appointment right away, 203-775-3679.
If you selected anything but the first answer, you should be concerned. As pets age, we are concerned about cataracts and glaucoma as distinguished by changes in the eyes’ opacity and size. Growths near the eyes or on the eyelids are likely to grow and end up irritating the eye. Dogs or cats that are blinking more than usual may have an eye ulcer or corneal scratch that can cause significant pain and damage to the eye. Discharge from the eye may or may not be a concern, but it must be seen by one of our veterinarians before we’re able to tell you if the discharge should be cause for concern.
A significant number of pets suffer from ear infections. If you selected anything but answer 1, you should call us for an appointment. Left untreated, ear issues can lead to hearing loss and permanent damage to the ear’s structure due to scratching or head shaking.
#6 Cardiovascular and Respiratory
A cardiovascular and respiratory examination is hard to do unless you have been trained. Any answer other than 1 should cause you significant concern and prompt you to reach out to us for our help. Any cat that breathes with his or her mouth open (panting) should be seen immediately.
Any answer other than 1 is cause for concern. Changes to urine and/or stool is almost always clinically significant. Licking the anus or scooting can be a sign that your pet is parasitized, has an infection, has an anal gland problem, or is painful or itchy. Many cat owners tolerate vomiting in their pets, but any cat that vomits more than once a week should be examined by a veterinarian. Cats that experience a change in how frequently they vomit, when they vomit, or cats that vomit in conjunction with other signs like weight or appetite changes should be seen. For more on cats and vomiting, you can read this article by veterinarian, Richard Goldstein, associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
If you answered 2 through 7, please seek out our help. Weight change in dogs and cats is not normal and may be associated with very serious disease. Changes to the way your pet moves or responds to touch can be related to joint problems, changes with eye sight, arthritis, or cancer. While arthritis is often associated with aging, pets don’t have to suffer with the pain. There are prescription medications and supplements that we can provide that will dramatically reduce or eliminate arthritic pain in your pet and restore his or her mobility.
Many diseases are associated with changes to the way urine appears, the frequency of urination, and the amount of urine a pet produces. Inappropriate urination is also often linked to disease. Discharge from the genital region, especially in females that have not been spayed, can be cause for significant alarm and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. If you have a male cat straining to urinate, or one with blood in his urine, you should also seek out immediate veterinary care. If you answered anything other than 1, we should see you at your earliest convenience.
Red or hot skin may be a sign of infection or allergies. Scratching can be related to pain, infection, allergies, or parasitism by ticks, fleas or mites. While many lumps and bumps on pets are benign, 20% of all skin masses are cancerous. It is not possible to distinguish cancerous masses from non-cancerous ones by appearance alone; they must be evaluated by a veterinarian. Lumps can also be enlarged lymph nodes and related to serious disease. If you answered anything but the first option, reach out to us. Skin issues are often treatable. Diseases associated with skin conditions, if diagnosed early, can often be treated successfully.