On arrival at the Bligh Park Veterinary Hospital we will record your details and also those of your pet. We will also record weight and vaccination and/or heartworm status. Questions will be asked such as: What is the problem? Presenting symptoms are important in diagnosing the disease. How did it happen? How long has it been sick? Is the problem getting worse?
In the consult room the vet will examine the patient in an attempt to discover all the symptoms. We will utilise some basic instruments such as stethoscope, auroscope and thermometer. Observation and palpation are equally important. All findings, including history and the presenting symptoms, will generally lead us to a diagnosis.With orthopaedic problems -commonly lameness, we will observe the patient in movement, palpate for heat and swelling and manipulate the areas in order to discover a seat of pain. This procedure in itself can distress the patient, but remember they cannot talk to us! Patients too sore to examine may require sedation and anaesthetic.We will provide you with a written estimated cost of treatment at this point. In the event of an unclear diagnosis it will be difficult to predict the outcome and therefore the final cost, but we will cost the tests proposed, and perhaps give you a 'ballpark figure'.
When we strongly suspect a diagnosis we will instigate treatment in the consult room. Commonly an injection is given and then tablets are prescribed for follow-on treatment at home. Occasionally an animal has a problem that can be treated at home but a re-inspection (check up) is recommended. Re-inspection ensures that the correct diagnosis is reached, and more importantly the patient is improving with treatment. Some conditions may deteriorate despite the correct treatment for example corneal ulceration in the eye.
Treatment may also involve hospitalisation and surgery.
Hospitalisation is recommended with extremely sick patients. This allows us to supply more intensive treatment, heat and rest, as well as continual ongoing monitoring. Surgical procedures under anaesthesia require hospitalisation to allow complete recovery before returning home. Fluid therapy by intravenous drip has to be done in hospital.
We encourage visiting and are proud of our bright and spacious hospital facilities. The nurses will be happy to show you around.
In most cases examination allows the vet to gain a diagnosis. However some diseases require further tests to reach the specific diagnosis. It may be that symptoms are vague or that examination has pointed us towards a broad number of conditions. Blood, urine, biopsies and X-rays are the most common tests carried out in the Bligh Park Veterinary Hospital. Most tests are sent to an outside laboratory. The results, returned by fax, are interpreted by us but also by the laboratory pathologist, giving us a valuable second opinion.
Some tests require sedation or general anaesthesia in order that they can be carried out. This is usually to avoid further pain to the animal or to allow safe restraint of your pet. For example general anaesthesia is often essential to let us take good X-rays. Furthermore complete relaxation allows joints and muscles to be more fully manipulated, as well as giving us the opportunity for administering treatment such as the application of a cast on a broken leg. Other procedures requiring general anaesthesia include exploratory laparotomy, whereby we surgically open into the abdomen, and biopsy and removal of lumps.
Surgery is carried out as a treatment in some conditions for example broken bones requiring pins or plating, infection of the uterus requiring hysterectomy, and excision of lumps in the event of cancer. We will always fully discuss the proposed surgical procedure and encourage you to ask questions as to the success rate, possible complications and of course cost.
When your pet is discharged from hospital, the nurse will provide you with written advice regarding aftercare for your pet following the anaesthetic and the surgical procedure. Often the vet will speak further with you about your pet's problem and prescribed treatment.
After diagnosis is made and treatment is instigated we will often require you to return your pet to the hospital for a check up. This allows us to reassess the patient and to adjust any treatment. It also ensures us that we have reached the correct diagnosis, and the treatment is working.
There are a number of veterinarians who have completed extra studies and are permitted to use the description specialist. In the event that your pet needs a second opinion, or more tests or intricate surgery we can refer you to a specialist most appropriate to your pet's condition.
When an animal is sick we must always endeavour to relieve their suffering. Treatment with a successful outcome is the most common means to achieve this. However some diseases are incurable, or pets are extremely sick and are past the point of healing. Some pets are suffering from severe degenerative diseases for example severe arthritis and no longer respond to palliative treatments. With all these cases euthanasia will be recommended. We urge you to think of your pet' needs and to try and avoid selfishly hanging onto life at all costs. It is kinder. We can also help you with aftercare arrangements for your pet.