Pet Wellness for Life

Little kitten jumping with widely spread pawsOur pets are more than just our furry friends – they are our family and our partners in life. At Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital, we are your partners in your pet’s lifelong health and wellbeing. Keeping your pets healthy is what we do best. By bringing your furry friends to us for regular annual or semi-annual wellness exams, we can catch small health problems before they turn into big ones, and can often stop big ones right in their tracks.

Our pets age differently than we do – they age somewhere between four and ten years for every calendar year, depending on the breed – and an exam once a year for your pet is like an exam every six years for us. While most adult pets do fine with annual exams, we recommend exams twice a year to keep on top of senior health issues such as arthritis, hearing or vision loss, and other physical and mental changes.


Regardless of age, the wellness exam gives your furry friend a nose-to-tail assessment of every major body system and a thorough examination of such “peripherals” as ears, eyes, nose, and feet, as well as everything in between.

A routine but thorough wellness exam will usually include:

  • Listening to the heart and lungs for sounds of arrhythmias, wheezing, coughing, or other sounds that signal respiratory or cardiac problems
  • Palpating internal organs for shifting, masses, or deformities
  • Examining joints and bones for signs of arthritis, dysplasia, or other skeletal problems
  • Checking the nose, mouth, throat, eyes, and ears for signs of parasites, infections, growths, or other problems
  • A general assessment of skin and coat health, weight, and fitness
  • Fecal, urine, and blood tests to look for parasites and pathogens
  • A dental health assessment
  • Taking x-rays, if indicated
  • Administering or updating vaccinations, prescribing medications, diets or special foods, or suggesting further treatment if required

To get the most out of your pet’s annual wellness exam, it’s a good idea to read this checklist, think about the answers, and bring it with you to the wellness exam. Your observations are important so if you have noticed any of the following let us know:

  • Recent weight loss or gain
  • Your pet’s hunger and thirst levels have changed
  • Changes in his or her toilet or litter box habits
  • More frequent or less frequent urination, or straining to urinate
  • An unpleasant smell or brown substance in the ears
  • Cloudy lenses, bright red “whites”, or a discharge from the eyes
  • Your pet seems hard of hearing or doesn’t seem to see very well
  • Mental confusion or disorientation
  • Excessive scratching or rubbing at ears or eyes
  • Excessive licking or biting
  • Open sores, areas of skin inflammation, or unusual hair loss
  • Lumps or bumps anywhere on or under the skin
  • Coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • A reluctance to run, walk, or jump up or down
  • Limping or crying if you pick him or her up
  • Brown or plaque-coated teeth, or red, puffy gums
  • The presence of fleas or ticks
  • A bad smell coming from anywhere on his or her body

What to Bring

  • Note the brand names of foods and treats your pet normally eats
  • Bring any prescribed medication, over-the-counter preparations, or health-food supplements your pet takes
  • Bring previous medical records – including vaccinations records – from shelters or other vets
  • Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier in the waiting room or exam rooms. The calmer your pet remains, the better the baseline health information we will get
  • Bring a recent stool sample from your pet in a Ziplock or tightly tied plastic pick-up bag, just in case it is needed

Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital is your partner in extending your pet’s happy, healthy life! If you have questions or want to make an appointment for a pet wellness exam, call us. We also have excellent feline and canine health care plans to insure that your pets receive the best care at the most affordable cost.

Regardless of your pet’s age or condition, we promise to always give him or her a thorough, complete check-up that inspects every major body system from nose-to-tail, to make sure everything between the smelling-end and the smelly-end is in tip-top shape!

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