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Building client satisfaction, medical success
Follow these handy acronyms to improve general examinations



1. Musculoskeletal

History. Is the patient limping or having difficulty getting up or lying down? How many calories are consumed daily to achieve this body weight?

Examination. Include muscle tone assessment, a pass over the joints (including patellas and umbilical region), flexing the joints and making a judgment about relative obesity, weight loss or gain.

2. External Systems

History. Has the patient been scratching? If so, where on the body? Has the owner noticed any lumps or bumps?

Examination. Check texture of hair, relative thickness of dermis and epidermis and a look at interdigital tissues and nails.

3. Neurological

History. Is patient depressed or listless? Any changes in appetite or attitude? Behavior issues? Locomotion changes? Any seizures?

Examination. Overview of cranial nerves, long motor tracts and cerebellar function. Are parasympathetic and sympathetic balance within normal limits? Check temperature and assess level of pain.

4. Sensory

History. Subjective questions, including client's perception of the pet's hearing and sight.

Examination. Ophthalmic structures and adnexa and a look at the cornea, lens and retina with ophthalmoscope. Feel pinna and view vertical and horizontal canals and tympanic structures with otoscope.

5. Cardiovascular

History. Tires easily? Has the client noticed any fainting, weakness or exercise intolerance?

Examination. Listen to heart valves with both sides of stethoscope. Feel the femoral pulse and assess warm or cold sensation of distal extremities. Check tissue perfusion.

6. Hemolymphatic

History. Any noticeable membrane color changes?

Examination. Look at mucous membranes, assess capillary refill and feel lymph nodes.

7. Respiratory

History. Any coughing, sneezing or distress noted?

Examination. View upper respiratory airways, assess inspiratory and expiratory patterns and note wheezing, crackle or pharynx rattle.

8. Urologic

History. Any polydipsia, polyuria, incontinence or micturition problems? Record date of last estrus, any breeding patterns and data on ovariohysterectomy or orchiectomy.

Examination. External genitalia notations. Palpation of bladder, external organs including male prepuce, testes and female vulva and mammary tissues.

9. Gastrointestinal

History. Regurgitation? Diarrhea? Stool size, color and shape? Bad breath?

Examination. Lips, teeth, oral cavity, salivary gland and thyroid palpation, abdominal palpation, anus examination along with anal sac questions (scooting?). Note dental score on whatever scale you use.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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