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Visiting the Vet With Your Dog

Visiting the Vet With Your Dog
Dogs
,
General Care
Share this article
Visiting the Vet With Your Dog
Visiting the Vet With Your Dog
Dogs
,
General Care
Visiting the Vet With Your Dog
Share this article
Visiting the Vet With Your Dog

Waiting Room Etiquette

Your dog should always be on a lead and collar. Sit away from other pets to allow your dog to settle, instead of getting excited or scared after interacting with their neighbours. If you can, take your dog out to the toilet before your appointment to avoid accidents in the waiting room!

The Vet Check

You would be amazed at all the small changes your vet is checking for in a nose-to-tail examination. Whilst the check itself can seem quick, your vet has years of training to make sure they don’t miss anything important.

The examination starts with the face, looking at your dog's eyes, nose, and ears, and checking for discharge or smell. They then move onto an oral exam to spot signs of dental disease, as the earlier this is treated the more likely we are to reverse signs of dental disease. Next, the vet will listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, checking for heart murmurs, arrhythmias and abnormal lung sounds indicative of infection or disease such as asthma. Your vet will feel your dog's abdomen, checking each individual organ inside. Your vet can tell if the organs are enlarged or too small, or if your dog is constipated or has a painful tummy. The vet then moves on to feeling the limbs and back to look for sore joints and checks all the skin for signs of parasites, infections or lumps that may need testing. Lastly, a rectal temperature check gives clues to inflammation or infection.

Diagnostic testing

The vet may then advise tests to be run based on the findings of their clinical exam. Diagnostic tests can identify the cause of any abnormal findings on the physical examination, for example, explaining the reason for your dog's vomiting or the reason your dog has started limping suddenly. Common diagnostic tests include:

Blood tests

Blood testing tells a veterinarian a lot of information. Your vet can tell if your dog is dehydrated, or has an infection and can check the health of internal organs such as the kidney and liver. Blood tests are useful in sick dogs to try and work out why they are unwell, and in older animals to pick up disease before symptoms start to show. Blood tests are done regularly on patients who are on long-term medications so we can be sure that the medications are not causing harmful effects on the organs of the body.

Urinalysis

Urinalysis looks at the composition of the urine, how concentrated it is, if there is evidence of bleeding or infection and if there is any glucose or ketones in the urine (a sign of systemic illness such as diabetes). A microscopic examination of the urine can show the vet if there are urine crystals, which may require a special diet to dissolve them.

Biopsy/FNA

Any growths or lumps on your dog's body must be checked by a pathologist to identify what the cause is. Some growths can be non-cancerous, but early detection of cancerous growths can allow speedy surgical removal before the growth has a chance of spreading.

There are two ways a growth can be tested. The first is called a Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) and your vet will gently insert a needle into the lump and suction out a few cells to send to the lab on a slide. This is usually a little uncomfortable but can be done without sedation. The second is a biopsy and this is where a part of the growth is removed under sedation or anaesthetic. The technique used will depend on the location and size of the lump, and what your vet feels will give the best results.

Imaging

X-rays and ultrasound allow us a peek into the body. Ultrasound is most commonly used to look at the abdominal organs, to check their size and shape, and to check for any masses or growths in the abdomen.

X-rays are used for imaging bone (for example, if there is concern your dog may have broken a leg) but can be used to check abdominal and thoracic organ size and shape and identify if there is anything stuck in the gastrointestinal system, such as a foreign body. Radiographs and ultrasounds need to be done by a trained professional for the most accurate results.

Summary

It's important for veterinarians to be able to combine the physical examination and diagnostic testing together to make an informed, accurate decision on the cause of your dog's signs. Your vet may recommend more than one diagnostic test, and this is because the more information your vet can get about your dog's health, the more informed they are to create the best treatment plan going forward.

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Waiting Room Etiquette

Your dog should always be on a lead and collar. Sit away from other pets to allow your dog to settle, instead of getting excited or scared after interacting with their neighbours. If you can, take your dog out to the toilet before your appointment to avoid accidents in the waiting room!

The Vet Check

You would be amazed at all the small changes your vet is checking for in a nose-to-tail examination. Whilst the check itself can seem quick, your vet has years of training to make sure they don’t miss anything important.

The examination starts with the face, looking at your dog's eyes, nose, and ears, and checking for discharge or smell. They then move onto an oral exam to spot signs of dental disease, as the earlier this is treated the more likely we are to reverse signs of dental disease. Next, the vet will listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, checking for heart murmurs, arrhythmias and abnormal lung sounds indicative of infection or disease such as asthma. Your vet will feel your dog's abdomen, checking each individual organ inside. Your vet can tell if the organs are enlarged or too small, or if your dog is constipated or has a painful tummy. The vet then moves on to feeling the limbs and back to look for sore joints and checks all the skin for signs of parasites, infections or lumps that may need testing. Lastly, a rectal temperature check gives clues to inflammation or infection.

Diagnostic testing

The vet may then advise tests to be run based on the findings of their clinical exam. Diagnostic tests can identify the cause of any abnormal findings on the physical examination, for example, explaining the reason for your dog's vomiting or the reason your dog has started limping suddenly. Common diagnostic tests include:

Blood tests

Blood testing tells a veterinarian a lot of information. Your vet can tell if your dog is dehydrated, or has an infection and can check the health of internal organs such as the kidney and liver. Blood tests are useful in sick dogs to try and work out why they are unwell, and in older animals to pick up disease before symptoms start to show. Blood tests are done regularly on patients who are on long-term medications so we can be sure that the medications are not causing harmful effects on the organs of the body.

Urinalysis

Urinalysis looks at the composition of the urine, how concentrated it is, if there is evidence of bleeding or infection and if there is any glucose or ketones in the urine (a sign of systemic illness such as diabetes). A microscopic examination of the urine can show the vet if there are urine crystals, which may require a special diet to dissolve them.

Biopsy/FNA

Any growths or lumps on your dog's body must be checked by a pathologist to identify what the cause is. Some growths can be non-cancerous, but early detection of cancerous growths can allow speedy surgical removal before the growth has a chance of spreading.

There are two ways a growth can be tested. The first is called a Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) and your vet will gently insert a needle into the lump and suction out a few cells to send to the lab on a slide. This is usually a little uncomfortable but can be done without sedation. The second is a biopsy and this is where a part of the growth is removed under sedation or anaesthetic. The technique used will depend on the location and size of the lump, and what your vet feels will give the best results.

Imaging

X-rays and ultrasound allow us a peek into the body. Ultrasound is most commonly used to look at the abdominal organs, to check their size and shape, and to check for any masses or growths in the abdomen.

X-rays are used for imaging bone (for example, if there is concern your dog may have broken a leg) but can be used to check abdominal and thoracic organ size and shape and identify if there is anything stuck in the gastrointestinal system, such as a foreign body. Radiographs and ultrasounds need to be done by a trained professional for the most accurate results.

Summary

It's important for veterinarians to be able to combine the physical examination and diagnostic testing together to make an informed, accurate decision on the cause of your dog's signs. Your vet may recommend more than one diagnostic test, and this is because the more information your vet can get about your dog's health, the more informed they are to create the best treatment plan going forward.

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Waiting Room Etiquette

Your dog should always be on a lead and collar. Sit away from other pets to allow your dog to settle, instead of getting excited or scared after interacting with their neighbours. If you can, take your dog out to the toilet before your appointment to avoid accidents in the waiting room!

The Vet Check

You would be amazed at all the small changes your vet is checking for in a nose-to-tail examination. Whilst the check itself can seem quick, your vet has years of training to make sure they don’t miss anything important.

The examination starts with the face, looking at your dog's eyes, nose, and ears, and checking for discharge or smell. They then move onto an oral exam to spot signs of dental disease, as the earlier this is treated the more likely we are to reverse signs of dental disease. Next, the vet will listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, checking for heart murmurs, arrhythmias and abnormal lung sounds indicative of infection or disease such as asthma. Your vet will feel your dog's abdomen, checking each individual organ inside. Your vet can tell if the organs are enlarged or too small, or if your dog is constipated or has a painful tummy. The vet then moves on to feeling the limbs and back to look for sore joints and checks all the skin for signs of parasites, infections or lumps that may need testing. Lastly, a rectal temperature check gives clues to inflammation or infection.

Diagnostic testing

The vet may then advise tests to be run based on the findings of their clinical exam. Diagnostic tests can identify the cause of any abnormal findings on the physical examination, for example, explaining the reason for your dog's vomiting or the reason your dog has started limping suddenly. Common diagnostic tests include:

Blood tests

Blood testing tells a veterinarian a lot of information. Your vet can tell if your dog is dehydrated, or has an infection and can check the health of internal organs such as the kidney and liver. Blood tests are useful in sick dogs to try and work out why they are unwell, and in older animals to pick up disease before symptoms start to show. Blood tests are done regularly on patients who are on long-term medications so we can be sure that the medications are not causing harmful effects on the organs of the body.

Urinalysis

Urinalysis looks at the composition of the urine, how concentrated it is, if there is evidence of bleeding or infection and if there is any glucose or ketones in the urine (a sign of systemic illness such as diabetes). A microscopic examination of the urine can show the vet if there are urine crystals, which may require a special diet to dissolve them.

Biopsy/FNA

Any growths or lumps on your dog's body must be checked by a pathologist to identify what the cause is. Some growths can be non-cancerous, but early detection of cancerous growths can allow speedy surgical removal before the growth has a chance of spreading.

There are two ways a growth can be tested. The first is called a Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) and your vet will gently insert a needle into the lump and suction out a few cells to send to the lab on a slide. This is usually a little uncomfortable but can be done without sedation. The second is a biopsy and this is where a part of the growth is removed under sedation or anaesthetic. The technique used will depend on the location and size of the lump, and what your vet feels will give the best results.

Imaging

X-rays and ultrasound allow us a peek into the body. Ultrasound is most commonly used to look at the abdominal organs, to check their size and shape, and to check for any masses or growths in the abdomen.

X-rays are used for imaging bone (for example, if there is concern your dog may have broken a leg) but can be used to check abdominal and thoracic organ size and shape and identify if there is anything stuck in the gastrointestinal system, such as a foreign body. Radiographs and ultrasounds need to be done by a trained professional for the most accurate results.

Summary

It's important for veterinarians to be able to combine the physical examination and diagnostic testing together to make an informed, accurate decision on the cause of your dog's signs. Your vet may recommend more than one diagnostic test, and this is because the more information your vet can get about your dog's health, the more informed they are to create the best treatment plan going forward.

Keep Reading
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Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.
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