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As part of your pet’s physical examination, your BetterVet veterinarian will evaluate his/her orthopedic health and neurologic function. There are a variety of ways we can assess these body systems. Problems often manifest themselves very subtly, so it is important for you to let us know of any changes you’ve noticed at home.
Our assessment will begin the moment we arrive when we evaluate your pet’s gait and coordination at our greeting. Pet parents often expect their dog or cat to cry if he/she is in pain. However, pets experiencing orthopedic pain often hide their weakness and may only exhibit mild lameness, hesitation to rise or lie down, difficulty navigating stairs and/or increased reactivity around a particularly painful area. Our veterinarians will ask you about these observations. In addition, we will evaluate the range of motion in your pet’s joints and palpate his/her vertebrae to check for back pain.
Your BetterVet veterinarians will also evaluate your pet’s neurologic health through a variety of tests. We may begin by testing your pet’s cranial nerves (the communications between brain and body that control facial reflexes, swallowing, and vision.) We will continue with evaluations of coordination, paw placement, balance, and posture.
Older animals often experience compromises in both orthopedic and neurologic health, so it is important to create a treatment plan that covers the whole patient. Our veterinarians will make appropriate recommendations, including pain management based on our examination. We are committed to the quality of life of your pet and ensuring that you enjoy many happy years together.