Sick Pet Exams

Sick Pet Exam

When your dog or cat is very sick, a regular veterinary exam may only focus on the problem at hand. At Palo Verde Pet Clinic, we focus on the health of your pet as a whole, examining all 12 body systems and making preventive recommendations for your pet’s best health.

Read about the 12 body system exam and other frequently asked questions below!


When a pet is sick, a more extensive look at one or more body systems is considered best practice.

Diagnostic testing, like x-rays and bloodwork, operates like a window to see inside the body and give valuable information about the body’s inner workings.

At Palo Verde Pet Clinic, we believe in diagnosing before we treat.

In the long run, this saves you time and money compared to the trial and error approach. It also saves your pet possible suffering while waiting for one of many treatments to work.

Call us to Schedule an exam

Does my cat or dog need a sick pet exam or is it an emergency?

If an animal is sick, the severity of the problem will determine the degree of urgency for you as a pet parent. If your pet is mildly ill or just seems “off”, a sick pet exam will probably solve the problem.

These are 8 common signs of illness that require a sick pet exam.

Change in eating habits.
A reduced appetite can be triggered by an illness or even stress. Excessive thirst could signal diabetes.

Change in weight.

A sudden weight loss or weight gain may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Change in social habits.

If your pet is hiding or interacting with people or other animals more or less frequently, it could be a sign of illness.

Change in elimination habits.

Changes in urinating or eliminating could signal a gastrointestinal illness or disease, parasite infection or a urinary tract infection.


Some animals throw up occasionally, but if it’s happening more frequently or it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it’s time to call the vet.

Coughing, sneezing, discharge.

Discharge from eyes, ears and nose or a persistent cough should always be evaluated because it could signal a contagious respiratory disease.

Hair loss or itchiness.

These symptoms could be related to fleas, ticks or even allergies, but could also indicate an infection.

Lethargy or trouble standing.

If moving is painful for your pet it could be caused by anything from old age, heart disease, arthritis or other conditions.

If signs of a health problem seem severe, suddenly worsen, are associated with bleeding, or persist for more than 24 hours, it should be considered an emergency situation for your pet.

Why Choose Palo Verde Pet Clinic?

We take into consideration the whole well-being of your four-legged family members. We focus on wellness and prevention as well as diagnosis and treatment. We’ll work with you to find the best solutions, not just the easy ones.

Our team of dedicated veterinarians are pet parents too. They want your pet to receive the best care possible, just like they care for their own fur kids!

About Us

Sick Pet Exam FAQ

What is a 12 Body System Exam for animals?​​​​​​​

When our veterinarians examine your pet, they aren’t just petting your fur baby! During the 12 body system exam at Palo Verde Pet Clinic, our veterinarians will inspect your pet from nose to tail. This includes all 12 body systems visually, by touch, by listening and by close observation to your pet’s body responses. Though you may be unaware, the slight movements or signs your pet makes during this exam can alert our doctors to potential problems; or assure them all is well.

This exam includes the following 12 body systems:

  • Integumentary – Skin

  • Ocular System – Eyes

  • Digestive System – Esophagus, Stomach, Small Bowel and Large Bowel

  • Olfactory System – Nose, Smell

  • Musculoskeletal – Muscles, Bones and Joints

  • Neurological System – Brain, Balance and Nerves

  • Auditory System – Hearing and Ear Canals

  • Respiratory System – Upper Airway, Lower Airway and Lungs

  • Cardiovascular System – Heart, Arteries and Veins

  • Endocrine System – Hormone, Pituitary,Thyroid and Reproductive Glands

  • Dental – Mouth, Teeth and Gums

  • Lymphatic – Lymph Nodes

​​​​​​​Our veterinary team starts by taking your pet’s vital signs and weight. They will ask you for details about your pet’s general health, food and water intake and other important indicators of general health. They will discuss preventive treatments your pet is on and vaccination history. Then one of our veterinarians will perform a comprehensive examination from nose to tail. Depending on findings, they may recommend baseline diagnostic testing, vaccines, parasite screening, preventive treatments or diet and exercise changes.

How do I know when I should seek emergency care for my pet?​​​​​​​

It can be difficult to determine when a sick pet warrants emergency care. You may need a medical professional to distinguish the difference. If your pet is sick and in obvious pain, we recommend you call for an evaluation by one of our qualified technicians or veterinarians. They will be able to determine whether your pet’s condition requires immediate action or it is safe for you to wait until regular business hours for an examination.

Following is a short list of conditions that do require immediate emergency attention:

  • Unconsciousness

  • Bleeding in volume, uncontrollable bleeding, or bleeding from a body cavity

  • Foaming at the mouth

  • Hit by car

  • Seizure or tremors

  • Unresponsiveness

  • Extreme lethargy

  • Blue, purple, or pale gums or tongue

  • Cat open-mouth breathing

  • Poisoning (ingestion of snail bait, rat bait, anti-freeze, pills, medications, vitamins, chocolate, or any other suspect substance)

  • Ingestion of a foreign object

  • Involvement in an animal attack

  • Bite wounds

  • Spider or insect bites

  • Paralysis

  • Respiratory emergency

  • Cardiac emergency

  • Continuous Diarrhea

  • Allergic reactions

  • Dehydration

  • Lacerations

  • Fractures

  • Burns

  • Heat and cold emergencies (heatstroke, excessive panting or salivation, shivering, etc.)

Can my pet get Covid-19? Can I get Covid-19 from my pet? Can animals carry the virus that causes Covid-19 on their skin and fur?​​​​​​​

What we know about COVID-19 transmission and animals is continually changing. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the CDC website below.

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