Rarely am I bothered by exam room misbehavior, but when clients answer their cell phones while we are in the middle of discussing their pet’s health, I admit to feeling rather peeved. Why then would I ever ask clients to whip out their cell phones during the course of an office visit? I do so when I want to watch recorded video of my patients’ symptoms.
How recording helps your veterinarian
When it comes to quirky or unusual symptoms, the sights and sounds provided by recordings will supply your veterinarian with a wealth of information and understanding, far more than can be gleaned from your verbal description alone. The more your veterinarian knows about your pet up front, the more expediently, and perhaps less expensively, she will be able to hone in on a diagnosis.
Unless your pet’s odd behavior or new symptom is occurring nonstop, the likelihood of it happening in the vet clinic exam room is slim to none. Many symptoms such as lethargy, limping, coughing, and sneezing have a way of magically disappearing when the animal is under the influence of adrenaline. So, if your dog or cat is doing something out of the ordinary that you think may be difficult to accurately describe for your veterinarian, I encourage you to grab your cell phone and shoot some video footage to share during the office visit. (Feel free to include some Jacques Cousteau-like narration!) Be as close to your pet as possible when recording so as to gather as much visual and auditory detail as you can. Nix the video if you sense you are observing something that is life threatening, and get to the nearest veterinary hospital ASAP.
Symptoms worth recording
“Reverse sneezing” is a rather bizarre way some dogs respond to a tickling sensation in the back of the throat. In this sense, the reverse sneeze is akin to people clearing their throats, but with the addition of significant drama. During the reverse sneeze the dog assumes a stiff posture with head and neck rigidly extended forward. This is accompanied by forceful, noisy inhalation and exhalation that can last for several seconds, even minutes. (Check out this You Tube example of reverse sneezing.) To the uninitiated, this harmless symptom appears rather startling and is often interpreted as an asthmatic attack. (Dogs don’t suffer from asthma, by the way.)
It is usually difficult for a veterinarian to know, with certainty, that a dog has a reverse sneezing problem based solely on a client’s description. Watching a recording, however, confirms within seconds that the symptom is reverse sneezing, and allows the veterinarian to formulate an appropriate plan of action for her patient. As much as I promote recording symptoms, I confess to deriving serious amusement from watching a client trying to imitate a dog’s reverse sneezing!
Listed below are some other symptoms that provide good reason to grab your cell phone and shoot some video (and audio). By no means is this list exhaustive. If you even think that videotaping might be helpful, don’t hesitate to do so. You never know when it might come in handy.
- Abnormal behavior
- Falling down/collapse
- Painful episodes
- Discomfort or straining when urinating
- Discomfort or straining when passing stool
- Abnormal vocalization/change in voice
- Abnormal breathing
- Limping/lameness/abnormal gait
- Abnormal posture/appearance
Tell us below:
Have you ever recorded for your veterinarian? What was the symptom you recorded?