10 Reasons Why Your Pet Might Need A Rectal Exam


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Different vets have different methods of performing physical examinations. Some prefer to go from the front to the back while others prefer vice-versa. Regardless of your veterinarianโ€™s method in conducting the physical, it is important that he always ends with the rectal exam. Although some pet parents think that this kind of intrusive examination is unnecessary, a rectal examination can tell you a lot about your petsโ€™ health. Rectal examinations shine the light on underlying medical conditions that your pet might be suffering from. The often uncomfortable examination also helps in diagnosing diseases early.Here are the benefits of rectal exams for your pet.

  1. Evaluate The Anal Tone.The functionality of your petโ€™s sphincter and how long he can hold it closed can tell you more about the health of his muscles and nerves in that particular area. While performing the rectal exam, vets usually assess the tightness of your petโ€™s anus. An abnormality in your petโ€™s anal tone can indicate to nerve diseases or injuries.
  1. Examine The Feces.At one point during the examination, your vet might ask about the condition of your petโ€™s stool. Fecal samples are a necessity when it comes to determining whether your pet has a gastrointestinal problem. For pets who suffer from vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, or poor appetite, a fecal sample is a must for determining the cause of these problems. It also tells you whether your pet needs to be de-wormed.
  1. Feel The Rectal Wall.Vets will do this to determine the thickness, dryness, and roughness of the rectal wall. An abnormality in any of these factors can mean that your pet might have infections, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, or some kind of obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract.
  1. Examine The Anal Glands.These are the anal sacs. If your pets donโ€™t secrete a liquid-like substance from these sacs on a regular basis, it might then get infected and lead to irritation and pain. The only way to determine the health of these sacs is through a rectal exam.
  1. Examine The Vaginal Tracts.If your dog is a female, vets also tend to assess parts of the reproductive tract during an anal exam. If there are any abnormalities, your vet will then perform a thorough vaginal exam to check if everything is healthy.
  1. Examine The Prostate Glands.If your dog is a male, your vet will assess his prostates too. Problems with the prostate arenโ€™t uncommon. There are many things that a prostate exam can tell about the health of your male dog.
  1. Feel The Urethra.The urethra can become infected, inflamed, or blocked by debris formed inside the urinary tract. A vet can identify these abnormalities during a rectal exam.
  1. Examine The Lymph Nodes.An enlargement of the lymph nodes can indicate infection, cancer, or other problems. Vets can feel for any abnormalities in the lymph nodes during an anal exam.
  1. Evaluate The Pelvis.The alignment of the bones that make up the pelvic area can be felt during a rectal anal exam. Itโ€™s important to evaluate this area to know whether your dog has sustained any injuries during a fall or while he was playing.
  1. Feel For Growths And Abnormal Masses.There are numerous types of bumps and lumps that a pet might have. Masses can be an indication that your pet has an infection, cancer, inflammation, anatomic abnormalities etc.

A rectal exam is specifically done at the end of a physical examination to make all parties involved more comfortable. You can leave right after if no problems were detected. The rectal exam can be awkward, but it is still necessary.

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