After the client and patient enter the exam room, a medical history is obtained by a veterinary technician concerning the general health of the pet. The weight and temperature are taken and samples collected. Once the veterinarian is briefed as to the pet’s chief health concerns, the Dr. will ask more detailed questions as the animal’s general appearance, attitude and mobility are assessed. A full and complete physical exam follows, evaluating every body system. Additional testing may be advised, most of which can be done in-house.

If all is well on exam, an individualized vaccination protocol is determined and administered to the healthy pet. If a treatment plan is prescribed, all medications, diets or therapies are explained and a recheck exam may be advised to confirm resolution of the problem.

All surgical cases also receive a complete exam prior to anesthesia, often including pre-anesthetic lab work. If a previously unknown problem is discovered, the owner is called for consultation and possible rescheduling of the procedure if the underlying issue could adversely affect the patient under anesthesia.

Of all the duties a veterinarian may perform, the physical exam is the most important. The time spent with the owner answering questions, providing accurate health information and offering possible solutions is invaluable to the health of the patient and understanding of the owner. It also is a time to get to know the client, share stories and visit like neighbors. I have personally found these conversations through the years to be truly enjoyable because they serve as a reminder of how blessed I am to be a part of another pet-loving family.

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