One of the most important aspects of a visit to the vet that helps us diagnose and treat illness in our pets is collecting a thorough and complete description of the symptoms or abnormal activities a pet is portraying at home. This information allows us to better assess what may be affecting your dog or cat and get them on the road to recovery quicker. As a pet owner and veterinarian, effectively describing and understanding this pertinent part of the office visit can be a mixture of fun, frustration, and hilarity. Most of the time we start describing things in food form like “His stool is like pudding.”, or the client or doctor end up in a charades like situation acting out the cough, limp, or other weird activity the pet is doing at home. For instance, how hard would it be to describe the following action in a coherent way?
By far, the most underutilized diagnostic tool that almost everyone carries, is a smartphone. Next time your dog or cat has a weird cough or sneeze, limp, or is not acting like themselves, take a video that you can show us so we can quickly understand exactly what is going on at home. Did your pet throw up something odd or have a concerning area on their skin? Shoot a picture of it and email it to us, or bring the picture to your pet’s appointment at Faithful Friends.
Quickly and effectively gathering important patient information and clinical signs is the foundation of treating illness and disease, and the smartphone can play an integral part in this process. So next time your pet is doing something out of the ordinary, take a picture or video and share it with us. If you prefer charades, Dr. Henricks would be happy to play along too.