A health check for a pet is a routine examination conducted by a veterinarian to assess the overall well-being and health status of the animal. It is similar to a human going for a regular check-up with a doctor. The purpose of a pet health check is to detect any underlying health issues, monitor the pet’s growth and development, and ensure they are in optimal health.

Standard Health Checks for Dogs and Cats (1-6 years)

During a pet health check, we will typically perform the following:

  • Physical Examination: We will examine the pet’s general body condition, weight, coat and skin health, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, and overall body posture. We also assess the pet’s mobility and check for any abnormalities.
  • Vital Signs: We will measure the pet’s vital signs, including body temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate. These measurements provide important information about the pet’s general health.
  • Vaccinations: We will review the pet’s vaccination records and administer any necessary vaccinations to ensure the pet is up to date with their immunisations.
  • Parasite Control: We will check for external parasites, such as fleas and ticks, and discuss appropriate preventive measures. We may also recommend a faecal examination to check for internal parasites like worms.
  • Blood Tests: Depending on the pet’s age, breed, and overall health, we may recommend blood tests to assess organ function, screen for specific diseases, or check the pet’s blood cell counts.
  • Dental Evaluation: We may examine the pet’s teeth and gums to identify any dental issues, such as plaque build-up or gum disease, which can affect overall health.
  • Behaviour and Lifestyle Assessment: We may inquire about the pet’s behaviour, eating habits, exercise routine, and overall lifestyle to provide advice on diet, exercise, and general care.
  • Additional Examinations: If we notice any abnormalities or if the pet has specific health concerns, we will conduct further examinations, such as X-rays, ultrasound, or specific diagnostic tests.

Additional Health Checks for Senior Dogs and Cats (7+ years)

For senior animals, in addition to the standard physical examination and screenings mentioned earlier, there are some additional exams and screenings that are particularly important to assess their health and detect age-related conditions. These may include:

  • Geriatric Bloodwork: Comprehensive blood tests that evaluate organ function, check for metabolic disorders, and assess overall health. These tests may include complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry panel, and thyroid function tests.
  • Urinalysis: Analysis of the urine to evaluate kidney function, detect urinary tract infections, and identify any other abnormalities.
  • X-rays or Ultrasound: Imaging studies may be recommended to evaluate the condition of the bones, joints, and internal organs. X-rays can help identify arthritis, tumours, or other age-related changes, while ultrasound can provide more detailed information about the abdominal organs.
  • Eye Examination: Senior animals may develop age-related eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal degeneration. A thorough eye examination can help detect these conditions and guide appropriate treatment if necessary.
  • Blood Pressure Measurement: High blood pressure (hypertension) can be more common in senior animals and may lead to organ damage. Regular blood pressure measurements can help identify and manage hypertension.
  • ECG/EKG: Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) can assess the heart’s electrical activity, detecting any irregularities or abnormalities in senior animals at risk of heart diseases.
  • Mobility Assessment: Senior animals are more prone to joint problems and mobility issues such as arthritis. Evaluating their mobility, joint range of motion, and overall comfort can help identify any problems and guide appropriate management, including pain relief.
  • Hyperthyroidism Screening: Hyperthyroidism is a common condition in older animals, characterised by an overactive thyroid gland. Blood tests, including thyroid hormone levels, may be recommended to screen for this condition.

A pet health check is an opportunity for pet owners to discuss any concerns, ask questions, and receive guidance on maintaining their pet’s health. It is generally recommended to have regular health checks for pets, with the frequency varying depending on the age, breed, and specific needs of the animal. However, the majority of vaccinations are necessary every 12 months, and we advise getting a health check-up done at the same time, which will cut down on both your time and cost.