2 Ways Vets Measure Your Dog and Cat’s Health

Dr. Fiona, DVM, is a guest blogger  for the highly rated pet insurance provider, Pets Best Insurance.

Hi. I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell; I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today, I’m answering some questions from the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page. This question comes from Donald, who asks: How do you assess the health of my pet?

This is a great question. I think it really allows me to explain what your veterinarian is doing when you have those annual exams, and why are they important.

There’s basically two big ways that we can assess the health of a pet:

-One is with a physical exam, and

-Another is with regular blood work

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On a physical exam, specifically the things I’m looking for is your pet’s body condition. Is it overweight? Is it too thin? I’m looking for lumps, bumps, and masses. I look for oral health; it’s a huge issue in pets. Dental disease can be a source of infection, so we want to make sure your pet’s mouth looks really good.

Is it an older pet with some cognitive issues or arthritis? Are they limping? Is she/he well-groomed and clean? Are there any infections? These are all external things that can add up to a healthy pet. Regular blood work, especially for a senior pet, is a great way to screen for internal health. Basically, blood work looks for organ function, and healthier pets should have values that fall within the reference range of the lab work.

If you guys have questions for me, feel free to post them below in the comments or on the Pets Best Facebook page.

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  • Pamela Whitman-Weiner

    In this issue of Pets Best’s newsletter, there was a good article educating humans on hypertension in cats. The article also explained how to measure blood pressure in a cat. Can pet parents measure a cats’ blood pressure at home as a preventive measure? If so, where do we buy the pressure cuffs? Thanks for your help.

  • Oh! great! Good idea to have insurance for pets health.

  • Amy Gilbert

    That’s a great peace of news and very helpful for pet owners. Particularly to those who are not capable of taking their pet if any mishap happen to their pets.


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