As a response to a message asking to know more about health checking your pet at home, here is some information… part one:

First and foremost, wash and thoroughly dry your hands. Ensure you are clean before health checking your pet. If you feel the need, wear thin medical gloves.

Start with the eyes. Always.
If there is anything anywhere else on the body, you don’t want to transfer it to the eyes accidentally; staring with the eyes will avoid this.

– free from discharge
– free from foreign bodies
– not red, bloodshot, or discoloured in any way

Next move onto the nose.

– free from excessive and/ or unusual discharge
– clean and clear
– watch also for excessive sneezing

Then the mouth.

– gently lift up your pets lips to check the teeth
– small animals with split lips can have one side of the lip lifted at a time, the bottom lip can be gently pulled down to check the bottom teeth
– check for tartar build up
– know the colour your pets teeth ought to be, so you are able to tell if there is any discolouration (e.g. rats have yellow teeth, cats have white teeth)
– check gums are not discoloured or bleeding
– rabbits and rodents; check teeth are not overgrown (or likely to cause damage)
– check tongue is normal size/ shape and not discoloured (e.g. Chow-chow dog has a blue tongue unlike other breeds)

Next check the ears.

– check the external ear is free from cuts, nicks, lumps, not extreme temperatures, and not painful when in normal motion
– check there is no excessive wax build up
– no unusual odour (dogs ears smell pretty bad normally, ensure you do not mistake this for infection)
– no mites, fleas, ticks, or other parasites

– free from cuts, nicks, lumps, and pain
– fur/ feathers not matted and free from debris
– skin is not dry or infected

Look out for the corresponding post next week, covering the rest of the body.

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