General Physical Examination

Dr. Suzy has spent 35 years perfecting an examination and handling technique that works with each pet’s unique personality and comfort level. At Westside Animal Hospital we never force anything on your pet, or remove your pet from your view without your consent. We are here to earn your pet’s trust and you’ll often find that throughout their visit your pet will grow more and more comfortable as they recognize Westside Animal Hospital is a safe space.

We know you’ve brought your pet to Westside Animal Hospital because you love them and want the best for them. You see your pet every day and your observations are an important part of the information we’ll gather to ensure your pet has a successful visit. Dr. Suzy will ask questions about your life with your pets, so she can tailor preventative care, lifestyle choices, and treatment options. Our staff will take a thorough and detailed account of your pet’s story and current life, so at every visit Dr. Suzy can compare how your pet’s life changes and develops over time. Dr. Suzy will not only go over the story gathered by our staff at the beginning of your appointment and answer your questions, she'll really listen to your story. The information she gathers is key to your pet’s treatment plan today and is valuable information to provide solutions in the future.

If your pet is experiencing symptoms that have you concerned we need to know what they are, how long they've been occurring, and if they are getting better or worse over time. If you have pictures or videos of your pet's symptoms this is a great time to show us!

Dr. Suzy’s goal is to have each pet leave her exam room happier and more at ease than when they came. Dr. Suzy respects your pet’s comfort and tolerance levels during her examinations, teaching your pet that she is worthy of their trust and confidence. If we see a cautious, tentative dog approach Dr. Suzy’s exam table, we often find a trusting dog with a wagging tail hop off when it’s time to go.

Dr. Suzy has developed a technique to help your cat feel at ease too. We won’t restrain your cat unless and until it is completely necessary for their safety. We prefer to let them explore our exam room until they find a spot that helps them feel at ease. With our large windows in every exam room, cats tend to find a perch with a good view where they can watch their surroundings while feeling in control.

Every examination includes a full consultation with Dr. Suzy. We know you have questions, and this is a perfect time for you to ask them! We want to be the source you trust for answers. Sometimes Dr. Suzy will even proactively give you the advice to help you avoid future problems.
Dr. Suzy recommends that your pet receive a physical examination once every year.

    ​​​Your pet’s physical examination will include some or

    ​​​​​​​all of the following:

    Dr. Suzy will always start your pet's examination in a way that helps establish trust, which she will only continue to build by staying in your pet's circle of trust throughout her exam. With the above in mind, Dr. Suzy will examine as many of the following as your pet allows:

    • Vital Signs, which include body weight, temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, and pulse.

    • Oral cavity including teeth, gums, mucous membranes, throat, and tonsils.

    • Eyes, including eyelids, conjunctiva, corneas, and fundic exam.

    • Ears, including the otoscopic exam.

    • Heart, checking for murmurs and arrhythmias.

    • Lungs, checking for signs of pneumonia, pleuritis, or edema.

    • Abdominal palpation, checking organ size, and consistency. Checking for tumors, and excess abdominal fluid, as well as assessing the level of discomfort.

    • Assess the genitalia for abnormalities.

    • Assess the lymphatic system, including the peripheral lymph nodes.

    • Skin. Checking for parasites, hair loss, irritation, itching, ringworm, and overall skin and haircoat health.

    • Musculoskeletal, assessing body condition score, joint health, and checking for pain, swelling, or muscle atrophy.

    • Neurological, checking reflexes, balance, and attitude/depression.

    • An abundance of treats to complete the happy experience of pet's examination with Dr. Suzy!

    Establishing a relationship with you and your pet helps us be prepared in the future whenever you may be in need. Upon checkout, we try to print out a detailed log of everything that was done with your pet during their visit. While we will always have that information available to us for your future visits, we recommend that you start a file of your own to have on hand and include the provided logs. That way if your pet ever has an emergency (or if you are traveling) and needs to be seen elsewhere, you have all of your pet’s medical history prepared and at the ready!