Have you taken a good look at your pet lately? Most diseases are much more likely to be healed if they are detected and treated early. So go get your pet and let’s take a look at it now. Start with the nose. The nose should be moist but not runny. The skin of the nose should be smooth and not crusty. Then move up to the eyes. The eyes should be bright and alert. The pupils should be the same size, become smaller in bright light and not milky. The conjunctiva or the white of the eyes should not be yellow or red. It should be white with small blood vessels visible. Go from the eyes to the ears. They should be clean with no odor. A waxy buildup and a red ear indicate a problem. From the ears lets go to the mouth. Are the gums a nice healthy pink color? Now remember, some pets have pigmented gums that are naturally dark; so the gums are not a good indicator or health in these animals. While we are in the mouth look at the teeth. The teeth should be clean and free of buildup.
Let’s leave the head and look at the body including the tail. The body of the animal should be free of any lumps. Lumps can indicate tumors or abscesses. The skin on the body should have a nice shiny coat. Spots of baldness, crust, flakes, or redness indicate problems. Look for fleas and ticks. Also look for moist spots with or without matted hair. Now look at the feet and legs. Does the pet limp on one leg or the other? Even a lameness that comes and goes can indicate a major problem for the pet. Also look at the nails to see if any are broken or overgrown.
This has been a brief overview of a physical examination. Take time to regularly look at your pet. If you find anything abnormal call your veterinarian right away.