I CAN’T do this nearly as good as my Veterinarian?

From: Dr Andrew Jones
Author: Veterinary Secrets Revealed

Re: I CAN’T do this nearly as good as my Veterinarian?


Hey all..Good news, it’s Friday.

I’m looking forward to a weekend off work, and a
Big Staff Party this Saturday.

I am wanting to incorporate Questions from you, my
loyal subscribers, as part of my newsletter.

Here is a Question from Debra:
Hello Dr Jones..How Do I even start with this whole
at home medical care for my pets? I am NOT a Veterinarian,
and YOU need to have years of training to be properly
examine your pet at home.

I LOVE your newlsletter, and I have found Your ebook
Veterinary Secrets Revealed very helpful and THorough,
BUT I’m not sure where to start with this at home.

Debra T
Well Debra THANKS for the question and comments.

First Let me break down your Question.
DO YOU need to have YEARS of Training to examine your dog
or cat?

My Answer: NO

Can you pet your dog or cat?…..YES!

Can you tell when they are sick?….YES!

Then you can examine them at home.

EXAMINE means to look and feel
over them thoroughly.

Your Veterinarian primarily uses their hands for an exam.

Your veterinarian became skilled with examining via experience.

YOU can become skilled in examining your pet with PRACTICE.

YOU CAN approach the EXAM in a methodical way, and you CAN do this
ONCE a week.

If you are to EXAMINE your dog or cat once a week, then in
a year you will have performed at least 52 exams. That’s alot
more than most NEW Veterinary Graduates start with.

I teach you to approach the EXAM in a methodical way,
and record your findings for each body system.

In fact here is the BASIC STEPS in the At Home
Pet Health Exam..

IF you have yet to examine your pet at home, then
PLEASE read my following directions, and DO an EXAM
on your dog or cat this weekend.

>>>The At-Home Pet Health Exam
Your pet should get a thorough nose to tail exam once a week.

Get comfortable in examining your pet. He should be fine with
letting you put your fingers in his mouth or brushing his hair
to feel for lumps. The first thing that you have to be familiar
with is what is normal.
Vital Statistics: Pulse and Heart Rate

Normal resting rates:
Cats: 150-200 bpm
Small dogs: 90-120 bpm
Medium dogs: 70-110 bpm
Large dogs: 60-90 bpm

Pulse should be strong, regular and easy to locate.
Checking the pulse

The easiest place to locate a pulse is the femoral artery in
the groin area. Place your fingers on the inside of the hind
leg and slide your hand upward until the back of your fingers
touches the abdomen. Gently move your fingers back and forth
on the inside of the hind leg until you feel the pulsing blood.
Count the number of pulses in 15 seconds and multiply that number
by 4. This will give you the beats per minute (bpm).


A normal dog’s temperature is 101 F (38.0 C), and a normal cat’s
temperature is 102 F (38.5 C). Taking your pet’s temperature
involves placing a thermometer in their rectum. If your pet
has a temperature of 103.5 F (39.5 C) or more, they have a
fever. Refer to the section: Fever, in Illnesses and Remedies.

Thermometer should be almost clean when removed. Abnormalities are
indicated by blood, diarrhea, or black, tarry stool.
The Eyes

The surface of the eye (cornea) should be clear. The middle of the
eye (pupil) should respond to light. You can shine a light into
your pets’ eyes and see the pupil constrict. The right and left
 pupils should be equal size.

The pink tissue around the eye is called the conjunctiva. It is
normally a light pink color. In infections it becomes a darker
pink and the eyes will produce a white or greenish discharge.
There are a number of home remedies to treat conjunctivitis.
The Ears

Your pet should not be shaking their head; if they do there may
be an ear infection.

The outside of the ear (pinna) should be a light pink and palpate
as being flat. Any thickening could indicate an ear infection,
allergy or a blood blister in the ear (aural hematoma).

The inside of the ear (ear canal) should be easy to see and free of
discharge. A small amount of light yellow discharge is probably
normal wax. Any foul smelling odor indicates an infection. A yellowy
discharge often indicates a yeast infection. Hard black debris in
your cats’ ears likely indicates ear mites. If debris and odor are
present, then clean your pets’ ears. Refer to the section: Ear
Infections and Ear Mites, in Illnesses and Remedies.

Check for any signs of discharge from the right or left nostril. The
occasional clear discharge is normal for some pets, but ongoing
discharge indicates a problem, such as an allergy.

Your pet may benefit from a hypoallergenic diet, which can be bought
commercially. Alternatively, you can use an at-home diet you make
yourself. Whatever food you choose, it must be fed for 12 weeks.
If after 12 weeks your pet it still scratching, then she probably
doesn’t have a food allergy. Refer to the Chapter: Healing With
Food for a sample diet.
The Mouth

Examine the outside of your pets’ mouth first. The base of the chin
can become infected in cats with a condition called feline acne.
The lips should appear smooth and have no signs of inflammation.

Pay close attention to lip folds in the large breed dogs with lots of
extra skin. If saliva accumulates, then wipe the area with a medicated a
ntiseptic such as Hibitane.

Lift up your pets lips and examine their teeth. The gums should appear
a healthy light pink color (except in breeds such as Chows with dark
pigment). Pay close attention to the area where the teeth begin.
Inflamed gums appear a darker red and may even bleed if you touch them.
This is a sign of gingivitis and may mean your pet needs a dental
cleaning. Refer to the section: Dental Problems, in Illnesses and Remedies.

The Neck

Palpate the base of the jaw and the beginning of the neck. In this area
you can feel the corner of the bottom jaw (mandible). Here you should
be able to feel the submandibular lymph nodes and parotid salivary gland.
In a healthy pet, most of the time you won’t feel anything in this area.

Any lymph node swelling is serious, so have your veterinarian look for
the causes of the swelling. It is very important to catch the signs
early. Your pet may benefit from some immune stimulation.
Refer to the section: Cancer.
The Larynx and Thyroid gland

The last area of the neck to focus on is your pets Adams Apple (larynx).
Feel for your pets’ airway with your thumb and forefinger. Move your
hand along the windpipe (trachea) until you feel the large firm
cartilage in the middle of the neck. This is the larynx. In palpation
you should find that with mild pressure your pet shows no discomfort
and doesn’t cough.

In cats pay close attention to the area around the larynx as this is
where the thyroid gland sits. In cats with hyperthyroidism the gland
is enlarged and often palpable. If your cat is 10 years and older
you should regularly check the thyroid gland and if it is enlarged,
have your veterinarian screen for hyperthyroidism. There are some
things you can do at-home for your hyperthyroid cat – refer to
Hyperthyroid, in Illnesses and Remedies.
The Skin

The skin is the largest organ of your pets’ body and reflective of
what is going on in the body. Regularly brush your pet looking for
fleas, lice or ticks. The hair coat should be soft and shiny.

If you are seeing areas of excessive shedding in your pet then you
may be dealing with certain skin conditions such as mange,
ringworm, hypothyroid disease or allergies; please refer to the
appropriate section in Illnesses and Remedies.

If your pet has areas of hair missing around the face that are
not itchy, then he may have a type of mange called Demodex. This
small parasite shows up in pets with depressed immune systems.
One very safe, effective treatment is Vitamin E given at 400IU per
40lbs, once daily for 3-4 weeks.
Take note of any palpable lumps or bumps.

Lipomas (benign fatty tumors) commonly occur on the chest wall.
If your dog has a soft moveable lump on her chest, then it is
probably a fatty tumor.

Sebaceaous cysts are another common lump; they can often be
distinguished by squeezing out a cheesy substance. They are
also very soft. Lumps and bumps become more prevalent as your
pet ages and their immune system weakens. The most important
thing in helping your pet is having them on a premium quality
diet and supplementing with additional antioxidants. The ones I
suggest using are Vitamin E, Vitamin C and specific flavonoids.

Any lumps that are firm, rapidly growing, not easily moveable should
be considered serious and examined by your veterinarian.

Evaluation of the Genital and Urinary system

In male dogs look at the sheath of the penis to ensure there is no
abnormal discharge. This is more common in intact males, so an easy
remedy is to have your dog neutered. In female dogs examine the
vulva. A common problem is skin fold infections. These can be
treated by washing the skin folds twice daily with an antiseptic
such as Hibitane and applying a soothing cream such as Aloe Vera.

The urinary system is more difficult to evaluate, but there are some
things you can do at home. Signs of a bladder infection are frequent
urination, which may have blood and may be painful.

If you have a male cat, then it is imperative to determine that he is
not completely blocked up. Using your thumb and other four fingers,
palpate the entire lower abdomen. An obstructed bladder will feel
like a firm distended balloon. If your male cat has this condition,
it is an emergency and he must be treated by a veterinarian, IMMEDIATELY.

The most important way to deal with obstruction is to feed a diet higher
in moisture. This is accomplished with canned food. Then depending on
the type of crystal he has it is important to either acidify the urine
(with struvite) or make the urine more alkaline (oxalate crystals).
An easy way to acidify the urine is to raise the meat protein level.
Making the urine more alkaline involves decreasing the protein level
and adding a supplement, potassium citrate.

In this part of the exam we focus on the muscles and bones that help
your pet move. Starting at the neck, run your hand along the spine
to the base of the tail. Feel the muscles on both sides of the spine
and notice if any feel unusually firm or knotted.

Pets can get a variety of conditions that will lead to muscle spasms
in their back muscles.

Massage any tight muscles and take note of the area. A common condition
in active dogs is to develop fusing of the spine (spondylosis). This can
lead to decreased mobility, pinched vertebrae and back pain. Your pet
will benefit from regular massage of the lower lumbar spinal muscles.

A common problem for pets is vomiting and diarrhea. Any vomiting pet
 must be evaluated for dehydration. If your pet is profusely vomiting
(i.e. every few hours), then they are becoming dehydrated and need
veterinary care. If your pet is still consuming water and occasionally
vomiting, then you can try some of the home remedies (see: Vomiting).

Diarrhea can be caused by a number of different things, from garbage,
to parasites, to infectious agents (such as parvovirus). Most cases of
diarrhea respond to symptomatic treatment at home (see: Diarrhea).
The Heart

Your pets heart is easiest palpated on the left side of the chest at
the 3rd, 4th and 5th rib space. This is located directly behind the
left armpit.

Place your hand over the heart to feel it beating. You should be
able to count the number of heart beats in one minute.

Normal resting rates:

Cats: 150-200 bpm
Small dogs: 90-120 bpm
Medium dogs: 70-110 bpm
Large dogs: 60-90 bpm

Listen to the heart by placing your ear directly over it. You should be
able to hear a quiet “lub/dub”. In some pets with heart problems you
can actually hear a heart murmur. This sounds like a swish; at times
you can actually feel a sensation with your hand (in veterinary terms
this is called a precordial shrill).

If you suspect a heart murmur, have it confirmed by your veterinarian.
 Discuss treatment options, for there are some new effective
conventional medications. But there are some things you can do at home.
I discuss the use of two herbs that have been effective in heart disease
(see: Heart Disease).

The lungs provide the oxygen to your red blood cells that allow our
bodies to function. In evaluating the lungs, stand back and watch your
pet breath.

Normal respirations are only with slight rises and falls of the chest.
The rate is quite low, 10-30 per minute.

Put your ears over the chest and listen to the lung sounds. They
should be clear. Listen on both sides of the chest.

Any cracking is abnormal. This may indicate fluid in the chest,
which is common in heart disease.
The Airways

Put moderate pressure in the airway (trachea) located just below
the larynx (Adams Apple). Coughing indicates a problem.

A common one in small dogs is due to a condition called Tracheal
Collapse (the airway collapses in on itself).

There are a number of home remedies for coughing (see: Coughing).
Checking the pulse and evaluating blood pressure

Evaluate your pet’s blood pressure by palpating their pulse.

The best spot to do this is on the inside of the back leg (thigh).
Place your three middle fingers across the middle of your pets
inside thigh and apply moderate pressure. Here you are feeling the
femoral artery. This is more difficult in small dogs and cats.

Count the number of pulses in 15 seconds and multiply that number
by 4. This will give you the beats per minute (bpm).

Normal resting rates, again:

Cats: 150-200 bpm
Small dogs: 90-120 bpm
Medium dogs: 70-110 bpm
Large dogs: 60-90 bpm

The pulse should be strong and regular. In some conditions, the
pulse can be too strong (high blood pressure).

This is a common condition in cats with kidney failure. If this
is the case, then your pet must be seen by a veterinarian, who may
check for diseases that can cause elevated blood pressure (see also:
Kidney Disease).
Mucous Membrane Color

This refers to the normal pink color of your pets’ gums. Lift up
your pets lips and examine the gums. They are normally a light pink
color, although this is difficult to tell in breeds with dark
pigmented gums.

Assess your pets’ blood pressure by measuring capillary refill time.
Press your index finger on the gums and count the time it takes for
the pink color to return. Three seconds or less is normal.

Greater than three seconds suggest low blood pressure, as is seen
in cases of blood loss. In cases of bleeding your pet may become
anemic. This is seen by the gums becoming a paler color, and at
times even white. In this situation it is first important to have
your veterinarian determine the cause of the anemia, but there are
things that you can do at home (see: Anemia).


P.S. For those of you who are MORE VISUAL and would like
to see me examine my Dog Lewis and my Hospital Cat Mischief, then
you should REALLY get my Complete Home Study Multimedia Course.
I spent over 60 minutes going over each DETAIL of the EXAM. When is
the last time your veterinarian spent 60 minutes examining your

To see the EXAM on the Big Screen, you can check out my
Course at:

It’s Your Pet. Heal Them At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM

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1 thought on “I CAN’T do this nearly as good as my Veterinarian?”

  1. I been seeing for while changes in my cats gums,they tend to look buish to me. he is a gray cat 6 years old and the color is like that when he hasn’t been up moving around much but then they can change and be pinker he benn to vet but the color had changed to the pinker so veterinary does’nt see the coloring i am seeing. He was diagnosed with asthma 4 years ago.

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