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Basic Health Checks for Your Pet

April 03, 2022

Basic Health Checks for Your Pet

Here is a basic nose to tail check list. 
Some of these we should observe daily, but a thorough body check done weekly is a good habit to have in place. This helps you know what is normal for YOUR pet, so if changes do occur you will notice them straight away and can get help early.
EYES - Bright and clear - there should be no redness, discharge, cloudiness, weepiness or squinting.
NOSE - Moist and soft, no cracking, discharge, excessive sneezing or noisy breathing.
EARS - No discharge or wax build up and they should be clear of hair inside. No offensive smell, redness, scaling or itchiness. No head tilt, excessive head shaking or swelling of the ear flap.
MOUTH - Teeth should be free of staining, tartar build up, cracks and no missing or broken teeth. Gums should be salmon or bubble gum pink (although some dogs do have some dark pigmentation) with no redness, paleness, or swelling. There should be no excessive drooling or hesitancy to chew.
COAT - Shiny, no bald patches, not greasy or scurfy. No odour and free from knots, matts and parasites.
SKIN - Should not be smelly, with no rashes, redness, wounds, infections. No soreness, itchiness, dandruff or lumps and bumps.
NAILS - Should not be overgrown (good to check older cats) No cracking, flaking or breakage .
MOVEMENT - Should be fluid, symmetrical and effortless with no pain, lameness or stiffness.
BODY CONDITION - You should be able to feel the ribs and there should be a "tuck up" (a waist). If you can't feel the ribs your pet is probably overweight. Protruding hips, ribs and backbone can indicate underweight.
ELIMINATION - Regular well formed stools with minimal straining. No blood, mucous or parasites visible. Regular urination with no straining and good flow with no offensive odour or blood. No incontinence. Inappropriate urination is something to get checked (especially in cats.)
OVERALL - Your pet should be happy, have a good appetite and have good energy levels. There should be no lethargy, excessive thirst, no excessive panting or vocalising, no coughing or wheezing.
Senior pets (7 + years ) should be regularly checked. Combining a check with a good brush down and treats can make this a happy experience. Always make sure that your pet is ok with handling, especially around the mouth (cats may need extra caution here). Breaking a check down into short sessions for some pets is a better way to go and less overwhelming. Any concerns don't hesitate to see your pets health care provider.

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