Veterinary Check In Form: A Vital Link to Diagnosis & Recovery

Veterinary Check-in Form: A Vital Link to Diagnosis & Recovery

When you arrive at Anchor Animal Hospital, we ask that you fill out a check-in form.  This form may not seem important, but it’s the first step in evaluating your pet’s problem.  The information provided guides us in making a diagnosis and recommending the proper treatment.

The check-in form provides information such age, sex, breed, vaccination history, and past problems.  These facts are important in that we know certain illnesses are associated with particular breeds or occur at certain ages.  Male patients and female patients may have diseases peculiar to their sex.  Vaccination history may help rule out certain illnesses.  History of previous illness alerts us to problems that we need to explore.

Age, for example, can provide a huge clue to an animal’s problem.  Puppies and kittens are more likely to suffer from distemper, parasites, birth defects, or low blood sugar when compared to older patients.  These youngsters have much lower immunity to infectious diseases than adult dogs and cats.  In addition, we are more likely to see intestinal obstruction in youngsters due to their penchant for chewing on objects that adult patients would ignore.  In older patients, we must consider problems associated with age, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, arthritis, or tumors.  We must be careful however because any of these problems can occur in either young or old patients, and that’s when the science comes in.

The patient’s gender also gives us clues.  Certain illnesses occur only in males or females, while other problems occur more frequently in one sex verses the other.  As examples, pyometra (uterine infection) only occurs in females, and disease of the prostate gland is limited to male dogs.  Breast tumors are found more often in female patients, while heart disease occurs more frequently in males, but both of these problems can occur in either male or female.  Once again, we might need science to sort this out.

The patient’s breed can be very helpful to us.  Many breeds of dogs and cats are known to be associated with particular health problems.  For instance, Persian cats have an increased instance of heart muscle disease (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a propensity for valvular heart disease. With knowledge of the breed, we can consider if the presenting problem could be associated with a known breed problem, and use this information guide our history taking, examination, or testing.

Knowledge of a pet’s previous vaccination history allows us to rule in or rule out consideration of certain diseases.  As an example vaccines for both feline and canine distemper are highly effective, and a pet that has signs compatible with distemper is highly unlikely to suffer from the disease if the vaccine is current.  However that same pet, if the vaccines are not current, should be evaluated for distemper.

History of previous illness also guides our diagnostic search of your pets presenting problem.  An animal with an earlier diagnosis of heart disease that is presented for coughing would require our consideration of heart problems as the source of the cough rather than an infection such as kennel cough.  Likewise with no history of heart disease, the cough would more like to have a non-cardiac origin.  However in both examples, the history doesn’t rule out the cause, but rather guides our diagnostic thinking.

Remember as you fill out the Anchor Animal Hospital form, that the information contained may be as valuable as an x-ray or a lab test in helping us diagnose your pet’s problem.  The information that you provide is an vital aid in your pet’s recovery.