Why Does My Pet Need an Annual Exam?

Cats and dogs instinctively hide pain and illness because they are unable to communicate when something is wrong. A physical exam is a great way to help overcome these barriers to determine how our pet’s health is doing. We recommend yearly exams for all of our patients and two exams for geriatric pets. The following is a list of reasons regular physical exams:

Early Disease Detection

Early disease detection allows treatment to begin sooner and typically results in a better outcome. This can help our pets’ live longer, more enjoyable lives!

If no issues are detected during the exam or on lab work, not only is this excellent news but it also gives us a baseline to compare to should the pet fall ill in the future. In other words, we learn what your pet’s ‘normal’ is.


Exams are required before vaccination to ensure your pet is healthy enough to receive the vaccine. We do not want to give a vaccine to a patient whose immune system is being challenged by illness.

Behavioural Issues

It is crucial to discuss behavioural issues with your veterinarian as soon as they are detected. This enables the doctor to give recommendations or advice to correct the problem. Some issues we may think are behavioural may be medical conditions that are only evident due to the change in behaviour.

Obesity and Nutrition

Pet obesity is a widespread problem that can exacerbate and lead to a range of medical conditions. We see our pets every day, so it is sometimes difficult for us to judge if they are gaining weight. Your veterinarian will determine the Body Condition Score during the physical exam and will make recommendations if changes are needed. We can help you calculate how much food to feed each day to ensure your cat or dog is at their best weight.

The goal of annual exams is to help pets live healthier, happier and longer lives!

Written By Kaila Montgomerie, RVT