Our staff and doctors will gather a thorough medical history:
- Symptoms/ problems: If your pet has been experiencing any changes at home we want to hear about these concerns. Things like vomiting and diarrhea are easy for you to pick up on, but also think about whether there are bathroom habit changes, behavioral changes, appetite or energy level changes, or mobility changes, to name a few.
- Medications: We need to know all the medications your pet is receiving. This includes any over-the-counter supplements, vitamins, etc.
- Allergies: If your pet has ever reacted to anything such as medications, vaccinations, foods, etc. be sure to let us know. We want to keep your pet as safe as possible!
- Prior history: Be sure to mention historical problems your pet may have experienced. If your pet was previously treated by a different clinic, be sure to bring those records with you as well.
Our doctors will perform a thorough physical exam:
- Our doctors will examine your pet carefully and thoroughly. We will systematically check each body system from head to tail.
- Animals are adapted to hide illness, pain, and discomfort. Thorough physical exams (and possibly lab work – see below) will help us to identify early signs of health changes.
Routine wellness testing will be performed if due / recommended:
- Fecal testing: We recommended annual (or more frequently if needed) fecal testing in dogs and cats. Even pets that spend most of the time indoors still have the potential to be exposed to intestinal parasites. Some intestinal parasites that pets can carry are zoonotic, which means they can infect humans.
- 4DX testing: Dogs should be tested with the 4DX test annually. This test looks for heartworm infection as well as exposure to 3 different types of tick-borne diseases (Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma).
- Routine labwork: Depending on the age, physical exam findings, and medical conditions of your pet, our doctors may recommend additional lab work testing such as a complete blood count (CBC), chemistry panel, thyroid function testing (dogs, cats), and/or urinalysis. If an animal is about to undergo anesthesia, this lab work is also very important to run ahead of time to better assess anesthetic risk.
Vaccines will be updated based on individual needs:
- Vaccinations are one of the many components of our annual wellness exams.
- Visit our vaccinations section to learn more about our vaccine recommendations.
Important wellness care items for you to keep up with at home will be discussed:
- Every dog and cat should be on monthly heartworm and intestinal parasite protection – year round. Lawndale recommends Sentinel and Nexgard for dogs, and we recommend Revolution for cats. We understand that needs may vary. We can easily work with you to order through our online store, Vets First Choice, if you prefer a different product selection.
- Year-round flea and tick prevention is very important. Ticks and fleas can be a nuisance to manage, but they can also transmit unwanted diseases. Visit our flea information, tick information, and clinic recommendation pages for more information.
- Nutrition is a major component to your pet’s health. We utilize veterinary nutrition guidelines and scientifically backed research to help guide our nutrition recommendations for your pet. Visit our nutrition page for more information.
- Home dental care can help your pet’s teeth and gums stay healthy in between visits. Be sure to talk with us about the best options for your pet.
We will make sure you fully understand how to manage any medical condition(s) your pet may have:
- If your pet has medical conditions, we will formulate a short-term and long-term (if needed) treatment plan that will work for everyone.
- We will make sure you have the resources you need to fully understand the medical condition(s). Our ‘Paws to Protect’ and ‘Pet Health’ sections on our website are excellent resources for you to return to on a regular basis.
- We want to follow-up with you to help ensure treatment success. If there is ever a question about a condition or how to manage, do not hesitate to contact us!
~Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS