The “WOW Factor”

Preventative medicine is best, we all know that. The earlier we make a diagnosis of a disease process the better the results—-usually. Since our patients do not talk to us, veterinarians in small and large animal clinical practice rely very heavily on the information provided to us by the owners. Unfortunately, a lot of this information is misleading or just incorrect. Not all pet owners are aware of the health status of their pet other than “ADR” (ain’t doing right). Many owners are completely ignorant of their pets body functions and can not answer simple questions like “is your pet vomiting”, or “does your pet have diarrhea” or “is your pet drinking more water than usual”? Veterinarians are trained to not rely too heavily on information provided by the owners and instead rely upon their training and observations based on a complete physical examination. The complete physical examination includes examining the pet from nose to toes to tail, including using the aids available to us.These aids include: stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, otoscope, thermometer, radiographs, EKG, ultrasound, etc. The gums, and teeth are of the utmost importance as the mouth is the “gateway to health”. The only other means of diagnosing is by laboratory tests of blood, urine and feces. Wellness exams are done routinely to check all body functions and to make sure the patient is healthy. This should be done yearly. It is routinely done before anesthesia is used for any procedure. The “WOW” factor means that “Wow, I would never have found this if I had not run all of these tests”. Every day the “WOW” factor comes into my life as diagnosis of disease processes is part of my routine professional life. It makes veterinary medicine very interesting and rewarding and suffering is minimized and lives are saved