MJ Wixsom: A thorough check-up for canines – nurturing health and happiness

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Ah, the profound symphony of veterinary medicine – where each note of concern and compassion strikes a chord with the well-being of our four-legged companions. The journey of nurturing health and happiness begins with a simple yet profound act: the physical examination. Today, let’s delve into the artistry of a proper canine physical exam, embracing the heartwarming rhythm of every detail observed.

General Appearance: The Prelude to Health

A physical exam opens like a sonnet, with an appreciation for the general appearance. It’s here we acknowledge the dog’s posture, energy level, and body condition. A bright-eyed and alert demeanor often indicates a robust vitality, while a hunched stance or lethargy may hint at underlying discomfort. It’s like reading the initial chapter of a book – an introduction to the narrative of well-being.

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Inquiring About the Basics: Eating, Drinking and More

Just as a story unfolds, we move to inquire about the essentials. Eating, drinking, urination, and defecation – these mundane yet vital actions can speak volumes about a dog’s internal harmony. Changes in these routines could point to issues within the gastrointestinal, renal, or metabolic systems.

Lumps and Bumps: Unveiling Hidden Tales

As we progress through the examination, we embark on a treasure hunt of sorts – searching for lumps, bumps, or irregularities beneath the surface. These enigmatic formations, while sometimes harmless, warrant scrutiny. A bump might reveal a tale of a previous adventure or a sign of something more intricate, urging us to unravel the story beneath.

Dietary Dialogue: Unmasking Diet-Related Dilemmas

In the modern era of nutrition, we’re conversing about diet like never before. Raw and grain-free diets, while touted for their perceived benefits, can cast a shadow on a dog’s well-being. The digestive system, akin to a pivotal character in our story, can be adversely impacted. Understanding that balance is key, we guide pet parents to opt for well-formulated diets that stand as pillars of holistic nutrition.

Symphony of Systems: The Dance of Well-being

The examination proceeds like a symphony, each system playing its own melody. The integumentary system – the skin and coat – often mirrors the inner health. Lymph nodes provide insights into immune function, the genitourinary system hints at reproductive and urinary health, and the digestive system unveils its journey from intake to excretion.

Windows to the Soul: Peering into Eyes and Ears

The eyes, akin to windows to a dog’s soul, grant us a glimpse into ocular health. Redness, discharge, or cloudiness can reveal tales of inflammation or infection. Ears, those perceptive listeners, may carry secrets of allergies or infections, underscoring the significance of their meticulous examination.

The Oral Odyssey: Exploring Dental Health

In our canine symphony, the dental melody resonates deeply. Just as a character’s speech can captivate, a dog’s dental health is a tale of well-being and pain management. Dental issues, if neglected, can create a discordant note within the harmony of health.

Breath of Life: Respiratory and Circulatory Narratives

The respiratory and circulatory systems perform the rhythm of life. By observing breathing patterns and listening to the heartbeat, we can detect the harmonious rhythm or subtle disharmony within these systems. From playful panting to serene snoozing, every breath speaks of vitality.

Nervous Whispers and Painful Prose

As we reach the crescendo of our examination, we dive into the neurological realm. Behavior, coordination, and responsiveness paint a picture of the nervous system’s condition. Additionally, assessing pain levels allows us to address discomfort, just as an author refines their narrative to capture the reader’s emotions.

In the enchanting finale of our examination, we stand as narrators of well-being – guardians of health and happiness. Each detail we explore is a note in the harmonious symphony of veterinary care. With knowledge and empathy, we wield the pen that writes a dog’s tale of vibrant life.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566