Important Pender Update: 

As the status in Virginia de-escalates, we are happy to continue to incorporate in-person appointments at Pender Fairfax, Chantilly and Manassas. Pender Emergency will remain open from 7:00am-10:00pm until announced.

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Physical Exam: Your Pet’s First Visit to the Vet

Published on February 20, 2015

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Preventative medicine begins with a comprehensive physical examination.

Before You Arrive

When preparing for your pet’s physical exam, if you have them or can get them, please bring the following items with you:

  • Any medical or other historical records you have for your pet
  • Any medications your pet is currently taking
  • Small, (walnut-size) “fresh” sample of stool
  • Sample of your heartworm and flea/tick preventative
  • Any questions or concerns you might have

Step 1: Veterinary Technician

Your pet’s first visit will begin with a brief visit from one of our veterinary technicians who will collect information regarding your pet’s overall health status, current medications, including flea/tick and heartworm preventive, type of food your pet is eating, and current activity and energy level. If your pet is experiencing abnormal behavior or symptoms, any information you can provide will be helpful in pinpointing potential problems. The technician may also obtain your pet’s temperature, pulse, respiration, and body weight. This is a great time for us to provide you with educational information about your pet’s health or behavior and answer some questions you may have.

Step 2: Veterinarian

Once the technician has collected information about your pet, the veterinarian will perform a complete head to tail physical examination. Your pet’s veterinarian is also your pet’s dentist, psychiatrist, cardiologist, radiologist, anesthesiologist, surgeon, ophthalmologist and much more. He or she wears many professional hats. Your pet’s eyes, ears and mouth will be checked for any abnormalities. In addition, the veterinarian will listen to your pet’s heart and lungs and palpate your pet’s entire body, feeling for appropriate organ size and looking for any skin growths or masses. During the examination, you will be asked additional questions in order to obtain an overall assessment of your pet’s current health status. Depending on your pet’s particular circumstance, your veterinarian may recommend certain laboratory or diagnostic tests for further evaluation.

Making an Ongoing Plan

Because your pet cannot speak and ages much faster than humans do, it is important to have your pet examined by a veterinarian at least once a year during the first seven years of life and every six months as they get older. No pet should be given vaccinations without a physical examination. If your pet is suffering from any kind of illness, the vaccine may cause more harm than good or be ineffective. Following your veterinarian’s recommendation is essential to ensure the health and happiness of your pet for many years.

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