By Dr. Gary Borgman, DVM
I recently read an article in a human medical publication about the duty of doctors to also consider zebras when they hear hoof beats. So, what does this mean? There is a common adage in the health professions (including veterinary medicine) that when we hear hoof beats, we should first consider more common medical conditions rather than the more rare/exotic conditions. However, the less common conditions do occur and should not be excluded from the realm of possibilities. In past articles in this magazine, I have mostly written about the more common animal health presentations at our practices. Today I would like to mention a fewer common presentations in veterinary medicine.
In past months we have encountered thyroid cancer, Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism), patent ductus arteriosus (a heart defect), pancreatic exocrine insufficiency, hydrocephalus, parathyroid gland neoplasia (cancer) and all sorts of rare but deadly cancers. Yes, rare and serious things occur, but fortunately most conditions are very treatable and often cure-able. So, it is better all the way around to write about preventable and treatable medical conditions. It is our goal to prevent the preventable, diagnose and treat the treatable and to do our best to help educate our pet owners about their role in keeping our household pets properly nourished, appropriately vaccinated, and observed and monitored for clinical symptoms. We encourage pet owners to keep a file on observations and thoughts. Writing it on the calendar works. We always ask questions in the exam room and we record this input into the SUBJECTIVE section of medical records. We are looking for clues. Then we proceed to the OBJECTIVE findings of a physical examination and appropriate diagnostics. (I will discuss the spectrum of diagnostics available in our practice in a future article). After we have concluded a history and objective evaluation of a patient, we proceed to the ASSESMENT and PLAN to proceed. Sometimes we will diagnose and treat in an outpatient setting and sometimes we will need more information from diagnostics. Sometimes we will begin treatment and re-assess progress in a few days or a week or two. The follow up is so important to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments. Sometimes we will refer challenging, complicated, and severe cases to specialists or to a 24 -hour facility. Our goals are favorable outcomes and alleviation of pain and suffering.
There is a constantly evolving and improving range of treatments, medications, and protocols available for our patients. Kissimmee Animal Hospital is now offering acupuncture therapy for selected cases. Dr. Danielle Trow has completed her training and is now a certified veterinary acupuncturist. We will discuss this well-established and effective discipline in the next article. Feel free to contact us for more information and we will be happy to arrange appointments to consider and implement acupuncture treatments.
In my 49 plus years of veterinary practice, I have attended many veterinary conferences and soon the North American Veterinary Conference will convene at the Orange County Conference Center. I have attended most of these annual conferences and will write about new information in the coming months.
The veterinarians and staff of Kissimmee Animal Hospital (407-846-3912) and Poinciana Pet Clinic (407-518-0880) welcome any questions about any animal health issues. We are here to help and to serve.