Many health issues can be brewing under surface long before they show up outwardly. Wellness exams are a way to peek inside for what problems might be hiding from plain sight.
We take our guys at least for one wellness exam a year; usually two.
There is no particular rule when during the year this should be done but we typically choose Fall and Spring for the following reasons:
- there is no risk of it being too hot or the weather being to dangerous for the trips
- the allergens load starts getting lower in late Fall; Winter would be ideal
- some of the tests make most sense being done in the Spring, such as heartworm testing or tick-borne diseases testing
This is how it’s been working for us. Come Fall, we make our wellness exam appointment.
Our wellness exam routine
Normally, we get the physical exam, urinalysis, fecal analysis, and complete blood panel. This time, all we ended up with was a physical exam and we’ll have to do the labs sometime in the near future. Things weren’t working out right for doing the labs:
- we could only get an appointment with OUR vet at the end of the day, which means in order to have fresh urine it couldn’t be the first-morning sample and there was no way we could have fasted blood that late in the day with our guys
- both pups decided to go poop in a thick bush where we just could not find it
Best laid plans, right?
So sometime soon we’ll take the guys in early in the morning to get all these things; a vet technician can draw the blood. Just as well, because we want to include the new kidney function test (SDMA) and apparently there might be certain things that need to be done to provide the blood for this the way the lab wants it and since it will be the hospital’s first time getting this test, they have to find out what the requirements are.
Testing non-fasted blood can skew the results and show things that don’t reflect actual workings of the body which is what is the purpose of checking the blood in the first place.
Making the list
Before the trip, I made a list of all the concerns and questions I had for the vet.
I find that making a list and checking it twice comes in quite handy. That way you can go over all of it with your vet and not forget anything.
Arm yourself to get the most out of your veterinary visit—grab your FREE Veterinary Visit Checklist.
We only had a few minor concerns (of course, if they were major concerns we wouldn’t have waited for the wellness exam), and a list of bumps we found on JD.
One of the bumps is a skin tag, which we just wanted to confirm that’s what it was.
The other two bumps were more of a concern.
They aren’t very large and not angry at all; just bumps under the skin. However, they’d been there for a couple of months now (at least that’s when we first found them) and not going away. One on the back of his thigh and one on the “shin” of the hind left leg. It’s not attached to the bone, otherwise, we’d gone in right away too.
The vet examined the bumps and marked them on the chart so we start a map of where, when and which bumps were found and what their size was.
Interesting thing is that both bumps felt the same to me but to the vet, one felt soft and one hard. (Well, I’m not one to squeeze things very hard.)
One bump not like the other
While the bumps appeared the same to me, they are not the same at all.
I was hoping for fatty tumors (lipomas). The vet felt that the one on the thigh likely is indeed a lipoma but the one on the shin is not.
Because one of the bumps is larger than a pea (the other one is a bit smaller, more like a smartie) and they have been there for long enough, we had them both aspirated. The vet did fine needle aspirate (FNA) and a core sample.
Checking out the slides
I got to take a look at the slides.
The cells taken from the bump on the thigh looked very shiny, oil-like. That’s what the vet would expect cells taken from a lipoma to look like. Which surprised me because I always thought it would be more like lard type of thing. Funny how we picture things.
The smear from the other lump looked matte. The vet feels the other bump is an infundibular cyst because when probed it oozed liquid. I’m down with a cyst.
The skin tag is a skin tag. We didn’t aspirate that one.
While we’re still waiting for the lab results, I’m hopeful that one of them is indeed a lipoma and the other a cyst.
Body condition score
Both guys are at ideal body score condition 3/5.
That is what we strive for, even though I was under the impression that we kept JD below that because of his hips. Hubby, on the other hand, was worried that JD is too skinny.
Either way, JD is doing quite well, though he did respond to palpation over TCVM pressure points for hip pain. We are considering adding some turmeric to his supplements.
His muscles are good, except for some slight muscle wasting over his glutes, from the way he compensates for the hips. We discussed exercises for him to strengthen them up some.
Other than that, everything is looking good, blood, urine, and fecal testing pending.