What is the benefit of having your pet examined when they are sick?
Why can’t Dr. Google just tell me what is going on?
There are many online sites that will give veterinary advice – are they credible is the question you need to ask? There are many sites that are designed to be a service unto themselves, i.e. you pay for their services. You have to know if you are getting advice from an actual veterinarian or is it someone who has no medical education and is giving you advice based on “old wives tales.” Would you fly on an airplane if the pilot was flying based on advice from an online site or would you rather fly with a pilot actually trained to fly the airplane?
So what is involved in an exam at the Glencoe Veterinary clinic? We take a complete history from you – many times asking you questions that seem unrelated –but actually give us information to your pet’s overall health. Next, your pet has 10 body systems we examine: Skin, Gastrointestinal, Cardiac, Lymphatic, Urinary, Reproductive, Muscles and Skeleton, Respiratory, Nervous and the Immune system. We look at how each system is working, is there abnormalities and if there are, what are they and how are they affecting the other systems.
A perfect example of this is a dog that comes to the clinic not wanting to play or eat. Through the history and physical exam, we gather that the dog has a painful back. What we picked up by the physical exam that would have been missed without it, includes the following:
- The legs were numb and the dog was not sure where they were (Nervous system)
- The dog is painful to walk, posture to go to the bathroom and also to lower its head to eat (Muscle and Skeleton system)
- The dog is having a hard time pooping or peeing because his back hurts (Urinary and Gastrointestinal systems)
- The dog is panting due to pain (Respiratory system)
All of these clinical signs can be gathered on a physical exam done in the clinic. We would then treat the dog for back pain.
Now how would this be handled by an on line veterinary site, especially if the advice was being given by an individual without a veterinary degree. The most common thing owners tell us when they bring this type of injured dog in is that the dog is not eating. So without a physical exam the online site may deduct that there was a gastrointestinal problem. The bad thing here is that if a back injury is not treated properly – the dog can progress to becoming paralyzed, not able to walk, which may be a permanent
So we always ask when we hear – “well on-line we were told it is this” – we always want to know – what veterinary college did the person telling you the information graduate from and did they make their diagnosis after examining your pet?
If your pet is sick – have an actual physical exam done to make sure your pet is treated correctly!