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Physical Exam. Family Friends Pets. We Want All Our Loved Ones To Be Healthy. Objectives. Explain why physical exams are important to the health of the pet. Identify the “vital signs.” Be able to perform a physical exam and monitor their own animal.

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We Want All Our Loved Ones To Be Healthy

  • Explain why physical exams are important to the health of the pet.
  • Identify the “vital signs.”
  • Be able to perform a physical exam and monitor their own animal.
Do any of you have pets?

Have you ever gone to the veterinary clinic?

What does a veterinarian do when you take your pet in for its yearly appointment?

why is a physical exam important
Why Is a Physical Exam Important?
  • Allows you to find signs of sickness that are not obvious
  • Helps you to determine the extent of the injury or illness
physical exam1
Physical exam

During a physical you look at all the body systems and how they are working

  • All body systems are related in function
  • If one doesn’t work properly it may limit what you can do medically
  • A veterinarian may pick up on something that the owners didn’t see or know was significant
    • Heart murmur
    • Growth problem
    • Skin problem
    • Parasites
first thing check the history

* See slide note

First Thing: Check the History
  • Check the records of past visits
  • Get information from the owner
  • Listen carefully, ask questions


What is your over-all first impression? … of skin, muscle tone, movements, behavior, attitude?

physical exam2
Physical Exam


Things a Veterinarian will need

  • Stethoscope
  • Otoscope
  • Thermometer
  • Pen light
  • Neuro hammer


Next, the veterinarian may take the

animal’s temperature.



After the heart, respiratory rates, and temperature are measured, the animal is examined from head to toe.

physical exam3
Physical Exam


If the animal is sick, the veterinarian may take samples of blood, urine, or feces



The last thing the veterinarian may do is give the vaccinations.


Resp: 10-14 bpm

Temp: 99-100°F

males lower

HR: 28-40 bpm


Resp: 26-50 bpm

Temp: 101-101.5°F

HR: 48-84 bpm


Resp: 16-34 bpm

Temp: 102.3°F

HR: 70-80 bpm


Resp: 16-40 bpm

Temp: 101.5°F

HR: 120-140 bpm


Resp: 18-34 bpm

Temp: 102°F

HR:70-120 bpm


Resp: 32-58 bpm

Temp: 102.5°F

HR: 70-120 bpm



See data file, “Normal Reference Values.doc”

partnerships in health monitoring your pet
Partnerships in Health: Monitoring your pet
  • Monitoring your pet can be helpful to your veterinarian when something happens at home.
  • What to look for:
    • Is respiration increased?
    • Has the heart rate gone up?
    • Is there swelling?
    • Does the animal have a fever?
    • Has the behavior changed?
    • Does the animal lack energy or seem depressed?