The Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment

black cat sleeoping on back

Mr. Sunshine is ready for his assessment.

by Karen Sable, Guest Columnist

As part of Pet Wellness Month, one action every pet parent can learn to contribute to their pet’s wellness is to frequently perform their own Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment.

This “tool” is a systematic and deliberate method for evaluating and knowing the status of your pet’s everyday health. It allows you to learn what is “normal” for your pet, and therefore to be able to more quickly recognize something that is not normal, making early detection more likely.

It can also be a good bonding experience for you and your pet. The Wellness Assessment ideally should be done at least once a week, with the results of each assessment documented. By examining your pet from Snout-to-Tail on a regular, ongoing basis, and keeping records of each assessment, you are able to detect any irregularities (lumps, bumps, swelling, tenderness, secretions, etc.), and also identify and changes since your last assessment. This can provide vital information for following up with your Vet.

The Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment is a skill that is best learned by taking a Pet Tech “PetSaver” or Pet CPR and First Aid class, such as those I teach, but the following steps summarize what is involved in the assessment. You’ll be able to download this as a checklist with a link at the end of this article.

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