examining cat

Checkups / Preventive Medicine

Physical examinations are crucial to the health and well being of all pets. Physical examinations help to discover problems and potential diseases early, when they are often more treatable. Hershey Veterinary Hospital recommends a complete physical examination be performed by a veterinarian once to twice a year. For younger pets an annual check up is recommended. For older pets or pets with chronic conditions examinations are recommended every 6 months.

A complete physical exam starts at the head of a pet and ends at the tail. The following systems are evaluated: 

  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Abdomen
  • Heart
  • Lungs/Trachea
  • Lymph Nodes / Thyroid
  • Mouth / Teeth / Gums
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Nervous
  • Nose/Throat
  • Skin/Haircoat
  • Urinary/Reproductive
labrador retriever dog

Physical examinations are performed in the exam room with the owner, so any abnormalities can be discussed right away.

In addition to examining each body system, a weight will be taken and a body condition score assessed. Body condition score (BCS) is a number grading system that identifies pets as underweight, at an ideal weight, or overweight. Keeping a pet at a healthy weight can extend their life expectancy. Overweight pets are more prone to diabetes, respiratory problems, heart problems, and joint problems. Obesity is a treatable disease and our dedicated team is happy to work with you to create a tailored weight loss plan for your pet. Owners may also stop in at any time during normal business hours to check their pet’s weight.

We are committed to helping pets live a long and happy life. There are many things pet owners can do to extend the life of their pets. These include:


Microchipping provides permanent identification in case a pet is lost or stolen.


Vaccinations protect against many diseases and are safe and highly effective.

Teeth Cleaning

Just like in people good dental hygiene keeps the entire body healthy. Daily teeth brushing is recommended along with annual cleaning by a veterinarian.


Monthly preventative medications are recommended for dogs and cats to prevent fleas, ticks, heartworm disease, and mites.  Many of these medications also help to prevent intestinal parasites.  Medications are available in oral and topical formulations.


Deworming is recommended for all puppies and kittens and then annually.  Dogs and cats often pick up parasites from eating things outside, walking in infested areas and licking their paws, and eating other animals feces or bugs.  Intestinal parasites can cause gi and respiratory issues if left untreated.

4DX Test

dog nail trim

This blood test is recommended annually for all dogs.  It is performed in house in 8 minutes and only requires 4 drops of blood.  This test screens for Heartworm disease as well as 3 tick- borne diseases:  Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis.

Nail Trims

Long nails can be painful and can tear or break.  

Anal Gland Expression

Expressing anal glands for pets that don’t completely empty their sacs naturally can prevent scooting, licking, infection, and abscesses.

Ear Cleaning

Regular ear cleaning helps to prevent ear infections.  This is especially important for dogs with lots of hair in their ears and dogs that swim.