Technology and Pets
By Glenn Kalick, DVM / January - February 2012
I enjoy technology as much as anyone. Digital radiographs, portable ultrasound, and laser therapy are great advancements. I recently had a brand-new experience with technology.
One of my favorite clients, Mrs. W., called me over Thanksgiving. Jasper, her three-year-old Yorkshire terrier, just fell off the chair and was limping. I told her to come over. But she was in Connecticut visiting her family and it was Thanksgiving Day. I told her to bring him to my old vet school, Tufts Veterinary School in Massachusetts. I told her it is fully staffed and that she would be in good hands.
While in the lobby, Mrs. W. had to fill in all of the appropriate information on Jasper's age, breed, vaccination status, and medical conditions. Mrs. W. took out her iPad and went onto my web site and, through her pet portal, was able to get Jasper's complete medical history, vaccination history, prescription history, and medical alerts, such Jasper's collapsing trachea and patella luxation.
She synched her iPad to an available printer and gave it to the veterinary student, who took her to the examination room. After the fourth year veterinary student wrote down the pertinent information about what happened to Jasper, she performed Jasper's physical examination. She informed my client that she was concerned about the cause of Jasper's injury. She understood the history of Jasper having bilateral patella luxation (loose knee caps), but she was also concerned about his hips.
This student told Mrs. W. that she would discuss the case with the attending veterinarian. But she would recommend X-rays, probably under sedation. That meant Jasper would need blood-work prior to sedation.
While the veterinary student was out of the room, Mrs. W. called me and asked me my opinion about whether we should sedate Jasper for X-rays. She asked me if we took hip X-rays the other month, when we radiographed Jasper after we thought he ate a palm nut. I told her that I didn't remember, but if she gave me her email, I would check.
At that time, the attending veterinarian came in the room. I was able to go into my computer remotely and pull up the X-rays. Due to Jasper's small size, his entire body fit on the radiograph, which showed his perfect hips. I also found his annual blood-work that we took last month with his vaccinations. I sent both his blood-work and radiographs to her iPad, which she gave to the veterinarian.
The veterinarian was able to rule out hip dysplasia with the radiographs and an ACl tear with physical examination. That led him to believe that this injury was a complication with the patella luxation condition. With the blood-work results, he was able to give Jasper strong pain medication without any concerns about liver and kidney function.
The take-home point is that available technology allowed Jasper the quickest resolution to the problem, avoiding sedation and probably saving the client hundreds of dollars in diagnostics that had been previously run.
Glenn Kalick, DVM, is the owner of Brookside Animal Hospital of Coral Springs. The web site is www.Brooksidevet.com.
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