• Chappelle Small Animal Hospital: Fort Collins Vet Services


Client Education Articles

The Importance of the Physical Exam

Despite the many advances in technology, the patient history and physical exam will remain constant in veterinary medicine. It is the fusion of the physical exam, the patient's history and technology that will help veterinarians become more accurate, quicker diagnosticians and healers while maintaining the crucial veterinarian/patient/client bond

Major Body Systems of the Cat and Dog and What Veterinarians are Looking for in a Physical Exam

  • Eyes - signs of disease, discharge or abnormalities in the eye's reaction to
    movement or light
  • Ears - redness, irritation, pain, discharge, abnormal odor, mites
  • Mouth - abnormalities in teeth and gums, bad breath
  • Coat, Skin and Nails - coat quality, lumps, rashes, hair loss, excess dander,
    discoloration of fur
  • Lymph Nodes and Thyroid Glands - irregularities in size
  • Heart - weak or abnormal sounds, changes in heart rate or rhythms
  • Lungs - wheezing, crackling or other abnormal lung sounds
  • Abdomen - irregularities in the margins of the internal organs and intestines,
    masses or tumors
  • Base of Tail - abscesses, abnormalities in the area, signs of soft stools,
    growths, parasites
  • Legs - range of motion in limbs, signs of pain or discomfort, sounds of joints grinding

By performing an annual physical exam, your veterinarian can help you to monitor your pet's wellbeing throughout its lifetime and alert you to possible future problems. If your pet is due or past due for an annual exam, please contact us at (970)482-7595.