The physical exam is the single most important part of any doctor’s visit. At Sherbourne Animal Hospital, Dr. Albarracin spends time listening to your concerns and providing counseling for your particular needs.
When your concerns have been heard, a physical exam is performed. This exam will include, depending on the circumstances, some or all of the following procedures:
1) Your pet’s pertinent history. This could be very brief or extensive depending on your concerns and the preliminary observation of your pet’s general appearance by our team.
2) Obtaining his/her vital signs. These are: heart rate and pulse, respiratory rate, temperature, weight and blood pressure.
3) Head and neck exam. Our doctor evaluates teeth, gums, eyes, ears, nose, salivary glands and local lymph nodes. Many important organs are localized in this region, not to mention that the quality of your pet’s oral health provides information about his/her overall health.
4) Heart exam. It is essential to identify two main issues: abnormal heart sounds (called heart murmurs) and irregular heartbeat (called cardiac arrhythmias). Both of these heart abnormalities can be clues to heart disease.
5) Lung exam. It is important to detect crackles, wheezes, or decreased breath sounds. These and other sounds are clues to the presence of heart or lung disease (asthma, pulmonary hypertension, heartworms, pneumonia,etc.).
6) Abdominal exam. This identifies changes in size and shape of the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, the bladder, the small intestines and, on occasion, the stomach. Through palpation doctors can also identify the presence of abdominal fluid and abdominal tenderness (pancreatitis, gastrointestinal foreign bodies, peritonitis).
7) Neurological exam. Using some special tools, our doctor evaluates nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, balance, and in some occasions mental state.
8) Dermatological exam. Pets can often develop skin, nails or ears problems, especially during the summer. Our doctor could need to perform skin scrapping, skin/ear cytology, skin culture, skin biopsies and /or blood work to identify a dermatological problem (parasitic infection, yeast infection or immune disease) or a disease somewhere else in the body (adrenal disease or thyroid disease) .
9) Extremities exam. Dr Albarracin will look for physical and sensory changes through palpation of the extremities and flexion and extension of the joints. Pets cannot talk and sometimes, abnormalities are noted only through these series of motions. The doctor can determine if your pet’s innactivity is due to pain in the articulations, bones or ligaments (arthritis, ligament rupture, cartilage damage).
We encourage you to write down all your questions and/or concerns so that they may be addressed during your appointment. If some of them cannot be answered right away, we will follow up.