Help Your Veterinarian Diagnose Your Pet

The first step in examining a pet is to obtain a thorough medical history.  This is where a little preparation can really help your veterinarian diagnose medical problems in your pets. It might also lower your costs by preventing unnecessary tests. This is what I like to see people bring to a routine office visit:

1) Copy of ingredient list from all foods and treats.
2) List of all medications and/or supplements
3) Copy of medical records from other clinics including x-rays.
4) List of allergies or abnormal reactions to foods, drugs, cleaning products, etc.
5) Timeline of abnormal behaviors that includes: when and where the problem started, has it improved or worsened, observed triggers and environmental changes
6) Video of the abnormal behavior- As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I love camera phones because it allows people to video their pet’s abnormal behavior.  It is much easier to spot lameness when a dog is running in their backyard versus walking on a leash in the clinic.  Beside orthopedic problems, video has helped me diagnose reverse sneezing, behavior problems, seizures, asthma, allergic reactions and differentiate between regurgitation and vomiting.   


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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