Paw Prints: Annual veterinarian exams can help pets live longer – Terre Haute Tribune Star

Some people believe that all a pet requires is food and water. Just because a pet looks healthy doesn’t mean it is healthy. Canine or feline friends can’t tell you when they are not feeling well. Annual veterinarian exams are essential for the life of a pet. It’s key to helping a pet live a long healthy life. An exam can discover early signs of an illness, which may be cured or treated if detected early.

A veterinarian will check a pet’s nose for discharge, which can mean more than just a cold. It could be a sign of distemper or other diseases. The eyes are another area that will tell a veterinarian the health of a pet. Dull or lifeless eyes can mean internal parasites or that a pet has a serious condition. A pet’s eyes should be clear and free from discharge. Eye infections are contagious to other pets and to humans. It’s essential to clear this up as soon as possible.

A veterinarian will examine a pet’s mouth for lumps and cuts, and check the condition of its teeth. If necessary, the vet may recommend that a pet get its teeth cleaned (scaled). Pets can have abscessed teeth, oral tumors or allergic reactions to bug bites. If a pet’s gums are not healthy, it can indicate that a pet is anemic.

A pet’s ears can harbor infection-causing bacteria and ear mites. Ear mites are highly contagious to other pets and therefore need to be attended to immediately. Ear mites can cause great discomfort for a pet. A veterinarian will also listen to the sound of a pet’s lungs. He/she will listen for sounds of congestion, cough or abnormal breathing. A congested chest can lead to upper respiratory illness, Bordatella, distemper, heartworm or other diseases.

A veterinarian will listen to a pet’s heart for any abnormalities. Early detection can mean the difference in a pet living a longer, healthier life. Another concern is a pet’s abdomen. The vet will check for pain, lumps, abnormal distending or infections.

The skin and coat of an animal can tell a veterinarian a lot about its health. The vet will check for fleas, ticks and other parasites, as well as for cuts, scrapes, lumps and swelling. A dull coat will tell the vet that a pet is not well on the inside. Examining the legs and paws will reveal any swelling or cuts that need attention.

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