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Dr. Ruch-Gallie likes to give a patient a good scratch all over his head and body. It calms your pet and gives Dr. Ruch-Gallie a chance to feel for skin growths and watch for any spots of particular itchiness, which might mark problems. Staining between pads on the feet often comes from licking, which can indicate allergies or irritation.
Painful areas. With major joints, the spine, and the tail, your veterinarian watches for any signs of pain upon being touched. “Sometimes pets are not comfortable with us handling them in a particular spot,” says Dr. Ruch-Gallie. “If I notice that consistently, I mark it in my chart so I know it’s not necessarily a pain response, but rather, a normal behavior for this particular animal.”
Animals age at various rates, depending on species and breed. The old idea that every human year equals seven for pets isn’t quite true. To help identify any potentially life-threatening medical conditions as early as possible, your veterinarian will usually recommend your pet visit her at least once a year for a routine wellness exam, and more often as he enters his senior years.
Your pet's health conditions dictate exam frequency, as well. A checkup might be needed every week or two following a new diagnosis, then less frequently depending on the condition being monitored.
As the person who spends the most time with your pet, you need to know what’s normal for him. That way, if something changes, you’ll notice and can let your veterinarian know. When you first get a new pet, examine him from nose to tail, and make a point of periodically re-examining him. Below are some possible signs that something isn’t right.
Mental State and Behavior
Lungs and Heart
Muscles and Bones
Urinary and Reproductive Tracts
Skin and Haircoat
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