Your pet’s health is the most important thing to the staff of Elgin Veterinary Hospital. We recommend twice a year wellness visits so that your pet can take advantage of the least invasive, and often most helpful, diagnostic tool at our fingertips – the complete physical examination done by a veterinarian. A full physical exam done by a veterinarian is like a person going to the eye doctor, a dentist, an internist, a cardiologist, a dermatologist, a gastrointestinal specialist, an oncologist, and an orthopedic specialist all at once. Veterinary training is different than medical school in that veterinarians are taught extensively about the entire body and all the systems involved, instead of concentrating on just one area of expertise. During the physical exam your veterinarian is not only listening to all the information that you have to provide, but also examining your pet from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. Your pet receives a full eye exam to assess vision changes and changes in the retina (or the back of the eye); an ear exam to make sure that there are no chronic changes that may lead to your pet having a painful ear infection and that there are no growths or polyps that need to be addressed; an oral exam to determine how much dental disease there is and what needs to be done about the gingivitis and bacteria build-up in order to protect your pet’s overall health and make sure there are no masses in the mouth that need to be removed; a heart and lung assessment to be sure that the is not a heart murmur developing that could lead to congestive heart failure or any signs of asthma or allergies that might affect your pet’s ability to breath; a deep abdominal palpation to assess that the organs are in the right place and the right size and there is not an abnormality in the abdomen such as cancer or inflammatory bowel disease; and a urogenital exam to be sure that there is not a problem with the urinary system such as interstitial cystitis or a bladder infection and to be sure that everything is normal in your pet’s private areas and there is not an infection or growths that need to be addressed. Many people have no idea how much information a doctor is gathering when they do their exam, but the information they gather might just save your pet’s life.