When you arrive for an appointment at THRIVE Affordable Vet Care, we understand and respect how many emotions are involved in the care of your pet. Perhaps you are in a hurry for another appointment for the day, or perhaps you are having financial concerns at home. We understand that you still want your pet to get the love and care they need! This is why we recommend thorough physical exams on every pet at every visit, at least once a year, or even twice a year for older pets. By making our exams affordable, we can be sure your furry loved one gets the regular exams they need!

To demonstrate the importance of the physical exam, consider the following real story of one our THRIVE patients. An owner came in with his nine-year-old, female Golden Retriever, requesting “just a rabies vaccine” since he believed she was happy and healthy at home without any issues or concerns. The owner had planned on taking her to a rabies vaccine clinic but had been unable to obtain an appointment. He arrived at THRIVE Affordable Vet Care, without an appointment, and we were able to accommodate her into our schedule. We made sure the owner understood that we always perform a full physical exam on our patients before a vaccine is administered.

During this exam, the veterinarian noted that her lymph nodes were larger than normal. Lymph nodes are one of the body’s immune defense mechanisms which can become enlarged when the body is fighting an infection, inflammatory condition, or even cancer. To help differentiate between these diagnoses, the veterinarian recommended taking a sample of the lymph node with a needle to evaluate the cells under a microscope (aspiration with cytology). The owner agreed to this test.

Unfortunately, this confirmed our suspicion. She had cancer. We were then able to discuss options that made sense for her and their family, ranging from full chemotherapy to supportive care, with options in between.

While it was not a diagnosis that we wanted to deliver, or the kind of news anybody wants to hear, you can’t help but think about how different it may have been without a her physical exam. She might have become very sick, needing to seek emergency treatment without the knowledge of what was causing her illness. She may have passed away at home without her family knowing she was even sick. Including a thorough exam with her rabies vaccine allowed us to provide her family with the necessary information to prepare appropriately, making the most of the time they have left with her.