To ensure the health of your pet, you should bring them to the clinic on a regular basis. We highly recommend having an exam done annually on your pet. Somethings to consider, based on the breed and age of your pet, is not only annual vaccinations but also blood work and preventative care.

©TLC Animal Hospital
©TLC Animal Hospital


Our hospital policy on vaccinations varies based on individual cases but we do recommend the 3-year vaccines for Rabies and also DHPP. At the age of 2 years, we will discuss vaccinating with the 3-year vaccine verses the 1-year. The Lepto vaccine and Kennel Cough (Bordetella) vaccine should be done annually as well.

Some dogs do have vaccine reactions. We can discuss this in length more during your exam, however the most common side effect is swelling at the injection site, hives, or vomiting. If any of this occurs, please call our clinic immediately. Most vaccine reactions happen within 24 hours of giving the vaccine. If you are new to our clinic and your pet has had a vaccine reaction in the past, please make sure to let our doctors know and we can pre-treat or decide not to vaccinate.

Routine Exams

A lot more is done during a routine annual exam beyond doing the vaccinations. Our doctors will take a look at your pet from tail to ears. Some key points they look at include:

  • Skin – Our doctors take a look from the back, to the rear end, to the belly and look for any skin lesions or worry areas that should be addressed. Sometimes, if we catch it soon enough, we can help prevent a skin infection from taking over. We also double check for any fleas or ticks that may be hitching a ride.
  • Ears – We will take a look inside the ears. We will look at the outside pinna (flap of ear) and all the way deep into the canal to see if there is any type of unnoticed infection, or the start of an infection.
  • Eyes – While no one likes a bright light shinning in their eyes, we will do our best to take a look into those eyes. We are looking for any age related changes or infections.
  • Teeth – Our doctors will do their best to take a proper look inside your pets mouth. Just looking at the quality of the gums can help us determine if your pet needs a dental or not.
  • Nutrition – We recommend that you bring the name of the food you give your pet. We can discuss if this is a healthy diet for them based on breed and age. You could always take a photo of the bag and show us during the exam.
  • Rectum – There will be a rectal exam done on the dogs and we are primarily looking for any type of abnormality. This includes feeling the anal glands, prostate (on the males), any masses, if the rectum is smooth or dry, and what the stool feels and looks like.
  • Abdomen – Our doctors will palpate the abdomen to feel the bladder and kidneys and to make sure everything feels the correct size and to make sure it is in its correct place.
  • Joints – Especially on smaller dogs, we will feel the legs and joints to make sure everything is rotating properly. Even once the pet is put down from the exam, our doctors still keep an eye on the pet while talking to you to see if there’s anything abnormal in the way they sit, stand and walk.
  • Behavior – During the exam, we do expect the pets to be a bit anxious, but we try and note if that anxiety is getting worse through the years or staying the same. We can always discuss behavior at the home and try and give some positive advice on how to correct bad behavior. We do have some trainers that we recommend along with animal behaviorists.
  • Heart/Lungs – Our doctors will listen to the heart for any murmurs or other abnormalities. We also listen to the lungs and can see back to last years notes if any abnormalities are progressing, staying the same or declining.
  • Lumps/Bumps – Some animals, due to age, will develop random lumps and bumps around their body. We can discuss what may be a fatty tumor verse something more complicated like cancer. Some lumps are found by our doctors, not the owners. For some lumps we will measure the size and remeasure in due time, or we will recommend a “fine needle aspirate” to see what kind of lump it is. This and other options can be discussed during the exam.

Blood Profiles

Without getting too specific on the different types of blood profiles we offer, the ones we use for preventative measures are the Adult Wellness Screen and the Senior Wellness Screen.

The Adult Wellness Screen we will recommend closer to 3 years of age. This a blood panel that shows a CBC chemistry and also includes a heartworm test and fecal test.

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This is a great panel to help save money if your pet will need any type of anesthesia. For example, we recommend this panel for our sedated dentals. Running these tests in the offsite laboratory saves you some money verses running these tests in house.

The Senior Wellness Screen we will recommend to pets closer to 6 years or older. This includes a more extensive blood chemistry and also includes a thyroid test and a urinalysis test. This panel we recommend being done annual if not bi-annually to see if there are any changes in your pet during their aging.