A physical exam is very important to help diagnose issues and diseases. Each and every small clue collected during an exam can lead to one or many other issues. Here is what a physical exam consists of:
Ears: Infections and parasites are very common issues with dogs and cats. The doctor will use what is called an otoscope to look down in and search for these issues. If something is noticed while examining, sometimes the doctor will request further diagnostics, such as an ear cytology to figure out what type of infection is going on.
Eyes: It is very important to check the eyes. The doctor will use an instrument called an opthalmoscope to check the eyes for retinal diseases and cataracts. Some diseases of the retina can indicate other body function issues, such as infections and high blood pressure. The doctor may also use what is called a tonopen to checks the pressure levels in the eyes which can diagnose glaucoma.
Mouth: The doctor will visually check the mouth. The doctor will be looking for tarter build-up, loose teeth, abscesses, fractures, missing teeth, gum disease, tumors and lesions. After this exam is complete, the doctor might suggest further testing or dental cleanings depending on what the exam showed.
Heart & Lungs: These 2 areas are check by feeling the pulse and listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Other areas that are also checked, which can show signs of heart and lung problems, is the mouth. They look at the color of the gums, how moist or dry the gums are and they observe the capillary refill time by pressing and releasing and watching how quick they refill.
Abdomen: Palpating the abdomen checks a lot of the major organs and structures. This part of the exam will check the kidneys, liver, spleen, bladder and intestinal tract. Characteristics they are feeling for are organ size bladder stones, tumors and intestinal abnormalities.
Skin: When the doctor is checking the skin, they are looking for a couple things. Parasites, abnormal growths, lesions, hair loss, and checking for fleas and ticks. Sometimes the doctor will request further testing, such as cytology’s or biopsies to get a definite answer.
Lymph Nodes: The doctor will palpate the lymph nodes to check the size, tenderness and symmetry.
Nervous System: The doctor will test your pet’s reflexes and watch your pet’s behavior to check the Nervous System.
External Genitalia: The Doctor is looking for certain things when checking the genitalia. Swelling, growths, color and discharge are some of the symptoms they look for. The doctor will also check the prostate to make sure it does not feel abnormal also.
Gait: Is the stance and manner of walking. The doctor will observe for lameness and inflexibility and palpate the joints also. This is a good way to detect arthritis or other joint issues.
Of all the animal diseases, Rabies seems to be feared the most. Unfortunately, Rabies is always fatal. The virus itself attacks the brain. Most pets get exposed to rabies by getting bit by a wild animal, in particular raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. To control this issue, the best way to prevent rabies is to have dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated every year or three years depending on the vaccine.Canine Distemper
This is a highly contagious virus that is found wherever dogs are found. This virus affects the respiratory and nervous system and is many times fatal. Vaccination for this virus should start at 6-12 weeks of age since dogs have a tendency to catch this virus at an early age.Adenovirus Type 1 and 2
Type 1 Adenovirus in canines causes infectious hepatitis which sometimes leads to severe kidney damage. Type 2 Adenovirus in canines can sometimes be a complication factor in kennel cough. Vaccines are available that cover both types of Adenovirus.Parainfluenza
This viral respiratory disease is often responsible or partly responsible for "Kennel Cough" in dogs. This infection can be severe in puppies. This particular virus is included in the distemper-parvo vaccine.Parvovirus
This is a very contagious virus that causes severe vomiting an diarrhea ( which can have blood in it). It can affect all ages, but is very deadly to puppies.Bordetella
Bordetella is frequently involved in the kennel cough complex. This is a bacterial infection that can occur simultaneously with parainfluenza, distemper, adenovirus type 2 and other respiratory infection.
Of all the animal diseases, Rabies seems to be feared the most. Unfortunately, Rabies is always fatal. The virus itself attacks the brain. Most pets get exposed to rabies by getting bit by a wild animal, in particular raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. To control this issue, the best way to prevent rabies is to have dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated every year or three years depending on the vaccine.Panleukopenia(Distemper)
Sometimes called " Feline Distemper", Feline Panleukopenia cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. This particular disease is the most widespread of cat diseases and it causes high death loss, especially in kittens.Rhinotracheitis
This is a viral respiratory disease, which is widespread. This virus can cause profuse nasal and eye discharge and is usually most severe in small kittens.Calicivirus
Calicivirus can cause a variety of symptoms including excess salivation, fever and mouth and tongue ulcers. This virus is usually less fatal than panleukopenia and Rhinotracheitis.Feline Leukemia
This is a form of cancer in cats which is usually fatal. Feline Leukemia is caused by a virus that can cause tumor growth nearly anywhere in the body as well as a variety of other symptoms. This virus does not allow cats to fight off other diseases and can die from secondary infections. This virus should be tested for, before any vaccine programs are started.Feline Infectious Peritonitis
This disease is caused by coronavirus. FIP is spread by direct cat to cat contact and by having contact with contaminated surfaces. FIP has 2 manifestations. These manifestations are wet and dry and both have symptoms that are nonspecific such as, depression, rough hair coat, in appetence, fever and weight loss. Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease and it is considered fatal.
What is a Microchip?
The Microchip is a permanent way to insure your pets safety. The microchip is usually implanted in the skin above the shoulders. The chip is very gentle to the tissues and usually there is no side effect from implantation. Each chip has a unique barcode. When your pet is scanned the microchip number comes up and also the place you have your pet registered through. One call to the company your pets microchip is registered too and the veterinarian can get your contact information and reunite you with your petFlea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks can be a big nuisance. They are both found pretty much everywhere, but are more prevalent in certain areas. We carry a wide range of flea and tick preventions to serve your needs. Call the office today for more information.Prescription Diets
We stock a very extensive range of Hill's and Royal Canin prescription diets. Over many years our doctors have developed great confidence in these diets as an adjunct to the treatment of a variety of diseases including those affecting the kidney, heart and liver. Additionally there are diets for obesity, allergy, joint disease, diabetes and cancer which have all been shown conclusively to help the underlying disease process, and which we therefore utilize regularly.Nutrition Counseling
Proper nutrition is one of the most important aspects in your pets life. Nutrition can help prevent and control so many issues. For example certain allergies, bladder and kidney stones, weight, diabetes and the list goes on.Did you know:
Over 60% of the pets we see over the age of 2 are overweight? Maintaining ideal body weight can help improve your pet’s life expectancy by 20%. Most skin allergies can be caused by food allergies Pets can become allergic to foods that contain way to0 much waste product. Many gastrointestinal disturbances can be linked to an inappropriate diet.Emergency Medical Care
In the event of an emergency, when possible, a phone call ahead is very helpful. This allows our staff to prepare for your arrival and enables us to provide prompt medical attention. For after hours you can call our regular switchboard number (813) 685-7751, and it will automatically put you through to Florida Veterinary Specialist.
Emergency Referral List:
Blue Pearl Veterinary Specialist - Brandon
607 Lumsden Professional Court
Brandon, FL 33511
Open only evenings, holidays, and weekends
Animal Emergency Clinic of Brandon
693 W Lumsden Rd
Brandon, Fl 33511
Open only evenings, holidays, and weekends