- A wellness exam is an overall general health assessment that may include blood tests, urinalysis, and parasite screening.
- A wellness exam is recommended for most pets at least annually.
- Some veterinarians recommend wellness exams at least every 6 months for senior pets and pets with chronic health issues.
- A wellness exam can help ensure your pet's health and detect early stages of disease.
A wellness examination is a complete physical examination along with diagnostic testing that may include blood work, urinalysis, and checking a stool sample for parasites. In many cases, a wellness examination can help detect the early stages of disease. Often, your veterinarian will schedule this exam when your pet is due for vaccinations.
Wellness programs vary depending on the species, age, and health needs of the patient. Your veterinarian may ask you to fill out a preliminary checklist along with a complete medical history of your pet. The checklist will ask about any issues that your pet may have.
For example, if you noticed that your pet is losing weight, your veterinarian may perform special tests to help rule out specific diseases that can cause weight loss. Make sure to fill out the forms thoroughly and bring a list of questions that you may have about your pet’s health. This is the perfect time to ask these questions.
Most wellness exams include a complete physical examination, which is a nose-to-tail inspection for any abnormalities. Your veterinarian will use special equipment, including a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs, an otoscope to view the inside of the ears, and an ophthalmoscope to examine the eyes.
Your veterinarian will also feel all over your pet’s body for lumps and bumps. In addition, your veterinarian will check your pet’s vital signs (temperature, pulse, and respiration) and record your pet’s current weight.
Many veterinarians perform testing on samples of blood, urine, and stool during a wellness exam. The blood test may include a complete blood cell count (CBC) and a chemistry panel.
These tests can help determine if your pet has problems such as anemia, infection, or organ disease. Other tests, such as a thyroid evaluation, may be helpful, depending on the physical examination results and patient history.