A regular physical examination is just as important for your pet as it is for you. Because your pets cannot tell you how they really feel, we recommend a complete nose-to-tail physical examination at least once a year, though more frequent exams are encouraged.
A routine examination provides you and your veterinarian with the opportunity to develop a picture of your pet's overall health, as well as to spot potential medical issues before they become serious health concerns. It's also an opportunity for you to ask your veterinarian important questions about your pet's health, habits and daily care. We also use this time to inform you about home healthcare for your pet and offer important advice and new information on the care of your particular type and breed of animal.
During your pet's wellness checkup, Sangaree Animal Hospital doctors will:
Listen to your pet's heart – Early signs of cardiac disease such as heart murmurs and abnormal heart beat patterns known as arrhythmias can be heard through a stethoscope. Discovering these initial indicators of trouble ahead can lead to identifying and treating the underlying condition before it becomes a more serious health threat.
Listen to your pet's lungs – Health issues such as infections, obstructive diseases and other problems can be detected by listening to your pet's lungs through a stethoscope. The doctor can also assess the overall pulmonary health of your pet.
Check your pet's teeth and oral cavity – Examining your pet's teeth and mouth is an important part of preventing dental disease, which is one of the most common health concerns in pets. Very young animals, such as kittens and puppies, also need to be checked to ensure they are developing an appropriate bite and that they are losing their baby teeth at the right time. We also take the time to discuss proper home dental care with you.
Evaluate your pet's vision – All diseases follow relatively predictable processes and if found early can be more easily treated. Ocular conditions, which can also be prevented through regular care and screenings, are no exception.
Look into your pet's ears – As with dental disease, ear disease is relatively common in many types of pets. Issues such as low-grade allergies, swimming or bathing, reactions to certain foods, mites and other parasites can all cause and contribute to otitis or ear disease. Though you may feel this is an area that can be well-handled at home, the fact is that many ear diseases are difficult to detect and require medical treatment.
Palpate the lymph nodes, abdomen and skin – By feeling the skin, we are looking for unusual lumps or swellings as well as evaluating for skin discolorations, lesions or patterns of hair loss or thinning. These can indicate the presence of more systemic problems, especially metabolic diseases, which most commonly occur in middle-aged animals.
Palpate joints and muscles – By examining the joints, legs and other areas of the body, we are able to evaluate for swollen joints, decreased muscle tone and variations in muscle size between the limbs. We also observe your pet's gait for developmental issues. In puppies, we look for early indications of hip or elbow problems. For older pets, we look for signs of arthritis, which can be well-treated if found early.
Lab work – A complete physical includes a heartworm test and should include a full blood workup. Not only can a full chemistry panel and complete blood count identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill between routine examinations. Additionally, blood work is highly recommended and often times necessary if your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning or any other surgical procedure that requires anesthesia.
Vaccinations are the cornerstone of your pet's preventive health care plan. Advances in veterinary immunology have made diseases that once were fatal to pets easily prevented. Today, many immunizations and preventive treatments are available that did not exist just a few years ago. We always tailor your pet's vaccination schedule according to his or her needs. All decisions about vaccinations and preventive care are made jointly by the veterinarian and you in order to develop a vaccination protocol based on your pet's lifestyle, environment, and other risk factors.
Sangaree Animal Hospital is also able to offer our clients' pets a three-year rabies vaccine. However, there are certain requirements that your pet must meet, which we will talk about during your pet's wellness exam.
Checking your pet for intestinal parasites is an important component of any preventative care plan. Not only is this a healthy choice for your pet, but for your family as well. For example, parasites such as hookworms are considered zoonotic, which means they can affect humans as well. Most practices use a fecal flotation test to detect for intestinal parasites. However, we send fecal samples to Antech, which is a lab capable of performing a centrifugal technique that is far more accurate than a fecal flotation test. Results are received the following morning by fax and our clients are contacted as soon as possible with the results.
Does your pet have a microchip? Each year, millions of pets go missing and many don't make it back home. Microchipping your pet is a safe, simple and effective way to prevent this tragedy. About the size of a grain of rice, identification microchips are implanted beneath your pet's skin, usually between the shoulder blades. These chips contain a unique number which is referenced against registration and contact information. Veterinary hospitals and animal shelters across the country are equipped with special scanners capable of reading these microchips. The information connected to the chip is used to reunite you with your pet, so it's important if you move or change your telephone number that you update the registration information.
Sangaree Animal Hospital uses the HomeAgain microchip system. HomeAgain provides a number of very useful services to pet owners such as their National Pet Recovery Database, Lost Pet Specialists, Rapid Lost Pet Alerts, Lost Pet Medical Insurance, Travel Assistance for Found Pets, and more.
We know how important a quality diet is to your pet's overall health. During your pet's comprehensive physical examination, we evaluate his or her body condition and give recommendations. Some pets require special food to maintain optimum health, but all pets benefit from a balanced, healthful diet.
We have trained staff available to help you with nutritional challenges for your pet and a diverse inventory of prescription foods. If your pet requires a prescription diet we do not carry, we can easily order it for you. We can also offer advice and provide information about diets that benefit specific medical conditions such as liver disease, bladder and kidney stones, renal failure, food allergies and other conditions.
The staff at Sangaree Animal Hospital is always available to help you choose the right diet for your pet in order to keep him or her happy, healthy and active.
In numerous acute or chronic conditions, medication is required to cure or alleviate symptoms. At Sangaree Animal Hospital we believe that timely and convenient access to these medications is an important aspect of caring for your pet. For this reason, we maintain a comprehensive pharmacy.
Not only does our pharmacy mean you don't have to wait for important medicines for your pet, but there is a direct line of communication between the examination room and the pharmacy window. Each medication becomes part of your pet's medical record, which reduces the chance for errors and enhances our ability to monitor its use and the outcome for your pet.
Additionally, if your pet requires medication that must be compounded or a medication that could be purchased less expensively at a local pharmacy (such as antibiotics), we are more than happy to issue a prescription. In fact, several of the antibiotics we use are on local pharmacies' generic lists, which means they can be bought at little cost to better serve you.
Refills are easy too. Simply give us a call or visit our online store and we can either mail them to you or have them ready at your next visit.