There are many reasons why exams are important for your pet. Exams are one of the main tools we use to obtain information about your pet’s health. Here are a few of the reasons why exams are a must:

  • The first is so that we can establish a health baseline for your pet. By conducting a wellness exam when your pet is not sick, your veterinarian can get an idea of what “normal” is for your pet. This baseline ensures that we follow health trends as your pet ages.
  • Exams also allow for the early detection of diseases. Many pets can be asymptomatic in the early stages of diseases. Your pet may not display signs or symptoms until they are very ill. However, your veterinarian can often detect these diseases during an exam and with lab work.
  • Exams go hand in hand with how we provide preventive care. Your veterinarian can use the information from your pet’s exam to recommend preventive care. These recommendations may include vaccinations, lab work, parasite control, and dental care.
  • Exams are necessary to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). In most states, there are laws that require veterinarians to establish a VCPR before they can provide care for a pet. This means that the veterinarian must have examined the pet and discussed their medical needs with the pet’s owner.
Exams are important for your pet's health

What are the different types of exams?

There are several different types of exams that your pet may need. We use the time in an exam to talk to owners and learn about your pet and his lifestyle. This knowledge allows us to provide specific recommendations for your pet. Not all pets need the same vaccines or preventive care. As an example, routine testing for thyroid disease may not be necessary for young pets as thyroid disease primarily affects senior animals.

Some of the most common types of exams include:

  • Wellness/Preventative exams: We perform these exams once or twice a year (depending on age) to assess your pet’s overall health. Pets under 7 years of age should get an exam at least once per year.
    Pets over 7 years should get examined twice yearly to keep up with changes that occur in aging pets.
  • Sick exams: We perform these exams when your pet is not feeling well, to diagnose and treat the underlying problem.
  • Behavioral exams: These exams assess your pet’s behavior. The veterinarian develops a plan for you and your pet if necessary which could include medication, training or behavior modification. These exams usually take place at the request of the owner who may need help with a pet behavioral issue. These exams can be performed by one of our veterinarians or by a veterinarian who specializes in behavioral medicine via a referral to a specialty hospital.
  • Recheck exams: After treating your pet for a specific condition, veterinarians perform these exams to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. We also want to monitor for any signs of worsening or recurrence of the condition.

If you would like to know what each parameter of an exam is see the article “Let Us Help You Decipher Exams”

Why are exams important for preventative care?

Preventative or wellness care is essential for keeping your pet healthy. Our preventative exams are typically accompanied by vaccines and testing. The examination along with fecal, heartworm and blood testing can give your veterinarian a complete picture of your pet’s health. Being vigilant with these exams can really help identify problems in their earliest stages. Early detection allows us to make a plan with you on how to best to approach treatment when it’s needed.

We also want to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to receive vaccines. Because vaccines cause an immune response in the body, we want to make sure that your pet is healthy enough to mount a proper response. If your pet is ill we may need to delay vaccines so that healing is not compromised. A thorough exam can help your veterinarian determine if your pet is a good candidate for vaccination at that time.

The most important part of the exam is open communication between the owner and the doctor and staff. Open communication can include information such as monetary constraints, owners letting us know if they are not comfortable following a recommendation and why. Being open with your veterinarian allows him or her to formulate a plan WITH you to help your pet.

What are standards of care?

A standard of care establishes a benchmark to determine if professionals have fulfilled their obligations to patients. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) sets standards of care for the veterinary profession. The AVMA bases their standards on the latest scientific evidence. Standards are designed to ensure that all pets receive the highest quality of care. We are proud to follow these standards of care in addition to AAHA’s (American Animal Hospital Association) standards.

An exam helps us fulfill our standard of care to our patients and our clients. This is why providing care without an exam is not something we can compromise on. Upholding these standards supports our mission of caring for your pet as if it were our own. We believe in these standards for all the pets that we treat so why would we not provide the best for you?

What are the laws that govern exams?

In most states, there are laws that govern the practice of veterinary medicine. These laws typically require veterinarians to establish a VCPR before they can provide care for a pet. This means that an examination by a doctor is required for the majority of services in our hospital. Exams must be performed annually to maintain the VCPR.

If you have questions about services or need to schedule a visit for your pet don’t hesitate to call or text us at 210-695-4455. We hope this information helps to answer your question about why exams are necessary for your pet. If you have any further questions, as always reach out to us.