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What to expect at your appointment really depends on what your pet is coming in for. We can highlight what an annual exam appointment would be like to give you an idea of how a visit would go.

Upon arrival to Breton Veterinary Hospital your records will be reviewed by a Veterinary Technician and you may be asked to fill out some paper work (you could fill this out ahead of time by downloading the forms from our website). Your pet will be weighed and scanned for a microchip then you and your pet will be taken into an exam room where the Technician will take your pet’s vitals, get a brief history, and review your pet’s vaccines with you. Your pet maybe due for some lab work, if so, the technician will also review that and collect any samples that are needed.

An annual exam is a good time for the Veterinarian to take a really close look at your pet. Written notes on the patient's medical chart are absolutely necessary in order to maintain a good medical history.  So when the doctor isn't probing and pulling, there will be some written data being recorded. Later this information is transferred to a computerized program that sorts and organizes yearly reminders, prescription data, important patient events or surgeries and billing data.  

The Veterinarian will start the exam with inspecting your pet’s skin and coat; they are really excellent indicators of the pet's health status. The coat should be shiny, not brittle and coarse, and the skin should be clean and not greasy or flaky.

The Veterinarian will also examine both ears. Obvious infections and allergies are problems that much of the time, you the owner can see. But often, infections can start deep in the ear canal and if noticed early, can be treated more easily.

The eyes also need a thorough exam, the Veterinarian will inspect the interior of the eye with special instruments; a close inspection of the visible eye structures and lids is also all part of a complete physical exam. Early cataract formation may be detected, any haziness on the surface of the cornea can be detected and inflammation of the surrounding eye structures can be assessed.

Every good exam includes getting that stethoscope against the chest and listening to the lungs and paying close attention to the heart sounds. Many common conditions that can be caught are heart rhythm and heart valve problems. The first way to gain information about your pet’s heart is to listen. (If the Veterinarian seems not to be listening to you while the stethoscope is plugged into his/her ears, don't be insulted!) If any deviation from normal is detected, further workup is a good idea and will be reviewed with you.

A careful evaluation of the abdomen is the next part of the physical exam. Every Veterinarian has made surprising discoveries while examining "healthy" animals.  Many owners were shocked to find out that their pet had only one normal kidney, or was harboring an undiscovered tumor or was pregnant!  Bladder stones, for instance, can be discovered during a routine physical exam. So in addition to feeling what's on the outside of the pet, what's inside is just as important.

Every good physical exam must include a look into the pet's mouth -- that is if the pet is willing!  Oral hygiene is one of the most overlooked aspects of pet health care. The mouth can harbor infected gums, loose teeth, objects stuck between teeth, tumors and all sorts of other surprises. Often the pet will show no signs of discomfort from even serious oral abnormalities. Older dogs and cats especially may have oral hygiene difficulties that would vastly improve if dental and oral treatment was instituted.

After the Veterinarian has finished the physical exam they will address any and all of your concerns, give vaccinations, review lab work, and dispense any medications that might be needed. Overall your entire visit should take approximately an hour start to finish. There are always special cases and if you have any major concerns that you would like to address then it may be a good idea to plan on a little extra time.  Before arriving for your pet visit, think about taking a minute to jot down your list of concerns and/or questions.  This will help you remember everything you want covered.