What are the Signs Your Dog or Cat Needs to See the Vet?

May 21st 2019

By Dr. Dirk Dekens, DVM
Do you know when your pet needs a regular check-up with their veterinarian? Is it every six months, once a year, or only when they don’t seem well?
It’s an important question and the answer is not simple, except to say your pet should have regular check-ups with their vet, just like you do with your doctor.

What happens during a routine check-up?

As soon as I see a pet, I begin my examination by assessing their physical health.
I watch their behaviour, movement, mobility and agility. Are they moving around nicely or limping? How is their breathing? Is it strong or labored? Are they happy and alert or sluggish and scared? A lot can be determined in the first few minutes of observing your cat or dog.
Next is the physical exam. I do a full-body check-up, checking vision and hearing, as well as the mouth and teeth.
Hidden dental issues are important to detect as some pets continue eating normally, even when they have a tooth with a cavity or that needs extracting.
I listen to the heart, checking for heart murmurs and abnormal rhythms. I then listen to the lungs to ensure your dog or cat is breathing easily and their lungs are clear.
It’s important to carefully check your pet’s stomach for abnormalities. I feel for the organs, making sure they are the normal size and that touching them doesn’t cause any pain for your pet.
Checking the lymph nodes, which can be hard to find, is also part of the physical exam.
I look for lumps and bumps all over your pet’s bodies to assess if there are any that need further investigation. I’ll be feeling to see if they are harmless fatty lumps or need to be tested.

How often should I bring my pet in to the vet?

The key for any potential health issues is early detection. By bring your pet in annually, or every six months for senior pets, early diagnosis can help treat illness and prolong their lives.
And I know we all want our pets around as long as possible.


What symptoms require an immediate vet visit?

If your dog or cat is showing any of the following symptoms, it is important to get them to their vet as soon as possible:
  • Lethargic
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Runny Nose
  • Stopped Eating
  • Diarhhea
  • limping
Just like us, if your pet is not feeling well, it is important that they see a doctor and get a full assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
At Montgomery Village Vet Clinic we offer Wellness Packages that can be paid monthly that includes regular check-ups for your pet. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to provide the best preventative and early detection health care for your pet. To learn more sign up for our pet registry.
If your pet has any of the symptoms listed above or you would like to book a regular check up for your dog or cat, please call (403) 615-8016

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