CHECKLIST FOR THE VET
Routine Checkup, PRINT out and take this weekly or daily checklist with you - and for the Emergency clinic, this form could save your dog's life!
TAKE IT TO THE VET
Barbara J. Andrews, Publisher
Emergency vets need quick, concise information and you can't think straight. Even routine health checks may be rushed so PRINT OUT the checklist below.
Hang it on a clipboard somewhere handy and use it to notate everything that affects your dog's health, from diet to dips, and medications, herbals, or supplements. Then take the checklist every time you go to the veterinarian!
Veterinarians spend years in training but that doesn’t mean that they are clairvoyant! Some vets are just not people-friendly and others act as though owning a dog deprives a person of common sense and reason. Veterinarians are all busy nowadays, in fact, you may only see a vet tech but not to worry, this simple checklist will make your visit productive.
If your vet occasionally seems to ignore your chatter, forgive him because he is concentrating on the dog. Most vets disregard people-babble but the good veterinary practitioner will query owners so if you get tongue-tied or have a lapse of memory, important information can be missed. That's where the checklist saves the day.
For example, your dog is sleeping on new carpet but the vet doesn't know that the severe dermatitis could be related to carpet dye and chemicals instead of fleas. A behind-schedule vet may not do the Sherlock Holmes routine so it’s important that you are prepared to help him reach an accurate diagnosis in the shortest possible time.
Look at it from the veterinary practitioner’s side of the table. Can you imagine his exasperation with the owner who plunks a dog on the table and prattles on about FiFi’s preference for pillows rather than dog beds and perhaps her tummy is upset because she lost her pillow? Experienced breeders are not likely to bore the vet with such inane speculation but still, when we are worried about our best friend, we do tend to carry on a bit don’t we?
Maintaining this checklist will facilitate an accurate and speedy diagnosis of the problem: TAKE THE CHECKLIST BELOW TO THE VET pre-filled out because you've made little notations regularly. Then keep your dissertation brief. Let the vet concentrate on the form and the period immediately preceding onset of symptoms.
The structure of having jotted down the problem will have organized your thoughts which is good because many owners are uncomfortable with a verbal presentation. You can just refer to the checklist rather than stand there trying to remember what it was you intended to say as soon as your tongue comes unstuck from the roof of your mouth. The good vet will listen closely and prompt you for pertinent details.
Breeders: use a notebook or folders to keep a running record for each dog. Note recent or current medications, treatments, known allergies, or peculiarities. In an emergency this can be critical, especially if you are not there. Whoever must rush the dog to the vet need only grab the checklist!
Vet-check every six months. That is equivalent to a yearly checkup for yourself!
Remember, a year in a dog’s life is like six or seven human years so things happen faster in a dog. A bump you saw five months ago could be terminal by the time you take him in for a checkup a year later.
If you are making a routine visit, it is even more important to take this checklist! Such visits are too often just “And how’s Bowser?” a pat on the head and the busy vet is on to the next patient before you’ve had time to ask him why the dog has been biting at his tail lately or coughing after he chases the Frisbee. In many busy practices, it is often the vet tech who takes the temp, weight, notates the chart and then pitches you on flea, tick, worms, and heartworm meds, otherwise known as whole body poison...
Cure (or prevention of reoccurrence) follows accurate diagnosis and treatment. Let's say your dog is given a cortisone injection for joint pain, stiffness, itching, rashes, or hot spots. Track improvement or lack thereof on the checklist. Take your notes to the vet so that a better diagnosis can be made. If there is no real improvement or the same problem comes back, you don't need to trust to memory. You can refer to the checklist and perhaps see a different vet. Do not become a repeating bank deposit for the vet at the expense of your dog!
I have no medical training but as a breeder with over forty years of clinical experience, I am firmly convinced that there is no such thing as “flea allergy”! There are however many immune system deficiencies, allergens, and toxins in our environment. A healthy dog can carry a few fleas, he is after all, a natural host to fleas. But one whose immune system is under assault may develop symptoms of “flea allergy.” The vet may administer temporary relief until diagnosis has been confirmed. That is good medicine. It is even possible (and sometimes more cost effective) to arrive at a diagnosis based on the dog’s reaction to a certain treatment. In every case, the cause of his faltering immune system must be discovered and treated or the symptoms will return.
A good vet will respect the owner who concisely sums up symptoms and provides relevant information about the dog’s daily life and medical history. If you are on a referral, particularly to a teaching hospital, or it is a new vet who has not previously seen the dog, it’s even more important that you go over your checklist with him or her. So, make extra copies of the checklist below. You then have only to circle or check off those symptoms that apply to the problem for which you are presenting the dog! What could be easier?
click to print this form ii Veterinary Health Checklist Form
Your Best Friend thanks you for doing this checklist and so will the Good Veterinarian!
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