The physical exam is the cornerstone of your pet's diagnosis. It is important because your dog or cat can't tell you when they need to go to the doctor! There may be obvious signs that your pet is ill ( lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) or no obvious sign at all. Pets tend to be very good at hiding their signs of disease.
Even if your pet seems to be perfectly healthy, a physical exam at least once a year is critical. In senior pets, a visit every 6 months is better. Your pet's exam will probably be more thorough than the exam you might receive from your own doctor. This would include checking: