We allow plenty of time (at least 30 minutes) for questions during your pet’s exam.  Dr. Van Tassel always spends time listening to and discussing any concerns you have and truly believes there are no silly questions when it comes to understanding your pet’s health.  She will not only discuss any changes or abnormalities she sees on your pet’s exam, but also what this means for your pet and what options for prevention, intervention, or treatment are available.
Your pet will receive an overall pain score.  This number is based on any current conditions or exam findings which may be causing discomfort, such as arthritis or mouth pain.
Comprehensive Physical Examination
During a comprehensive physical exam, your pet will receive a nose to tail evaluation.  Because animals tend to hide signs of illness, a detailed examination is extremely important, even if your pet seems perfectly healthy.  This exam helps uncover signs of disease that are currently affecting your pet’s quality of life or could present a problem in the future.  To keep your pet as healthy as possible, they should have a comprehensive exam at least once a year as an adult, anytime they’re feeling ill, and at least twice a year when they reach their “golden years”. 
The following is a list of the 14 areas that are assessed during a comprehensive physical exam
The level of tartar and gum disease present in your pet’s mouth will always be evaluated.  Additional information can be obtained by opening your pet’s mouth and examining the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, and back of the throat. 
Specialized equipment allows us to evaluate all parts of the eye, from the eyelids and cornea to the retina and optic nerve.
In addition to inspection of each ear flap, an illuminated magnifier with a cone shaped adapter makes it possible to visualize the deep structures of the inner ear, including the inner and outer canals and ear drum. 
With gentle, careful pressure of hands and fingers on your pet’s belly, it’s possible to detect internal organ abnormalities or pain.
Listening to your pet’s heart sounds and rate using a high quality stethoscope appropriate to your pet’s size and feeling their pulses allows us to find subtle changes in their heart health. 
Changes to the color of your pet’s gums, skin of the ear, and whites of the eyes can reveal abnormalities in your pet’s blood cells or liver function.  Additionally, their hydration can be estimated by evaluating the gums.
Visual examination of your pet’s external reproductive organs can reveal abnormalities associated with the internal organs of these systems.
While listening to your pet’s lungs, the quality and frequency of breaths is evaluated.  Examining the nose and gently feeling your pet’s neck, windpipe, and sinuses can also reveal information about their respiratory health.
Your pet’s skin and haircoat, from nose to tail, are examined, looking for redness, scabs, evidence of parasites, hair loss, and lumps.  The nails and paws can also be important areas in uncovering irregularities.
While it may look like petting, feeling along your pet’s body allows evaluation of their lymph nodes.  One or more of these organs can enlarge if the body is dealing with a significant disease process.
This examination is usually combined with the other parts of the comprehensive evaluation.  For instance, just looking at your pet’s face and eyes or watching them walk into the room or stand on the table can reveal clues to a neurologic disease when seen by a trained eye.
The flexion and extension of your pet’s joints, as well as the strength and condition of their muscles will be evaluated.
Talking with you about your pet’s current food, treats, and supplements may reveal changes that could be beneficial to your pet’s health.  We discuss those options for modifications, trying to work within you and your pet’s preferences.
Woodridge Animal Hospital
(630) 985-3101
2009 W. 75th Street, Woodridge, IL  60517