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Saturday, April 19, 2008

A spot diagnosis

Have you walked down the street, noticed a person or dog with a limp, skin condition, or other visually-obvious ailment and wondered: what is that disease? No? Well, I do it all the time. And so do many of my friends, especially those who are MDs.
Is that person afflicted with alopecia areata or universalis? Oh, that dog is limping.... is it the right or left front... hmm, let me see, oh, it's the left, no right front limb, definitely the right front (I wonder if the owners think it's the left front). Could it be an injury? Osteoarthritis? Post-op? OCD?
And the occasional dog wearing an Elizabethan collar (cone): was she just spayed? Maybe she swallowed a sock and just had exploratory surgery? Maybe much simpler: a small skin wound that she shouldn't lick?
Across the street I see an older miniature poodle with a large, pendulous abdomen, symmetrical hair loss along the back - it's gotta be Cushing's. Definitely. Do the owners know? Was the dog diagnosed? Treated?

I'm always tempted to talk to these pet owners, but decide against it. I'm sure they know what's going on...
Or maybe not?!

The person riding the motorized wheelchair, doing 30 km/hr down Queen street in Leslieville, morbidly obese, and smoking: What's your spot diagnosis?

Not a poodle, but definitely Cushing's.


Mel said...

It's impossible not to do it, isn't it? How much of it do you think is trained into us and how much is innate - the reason that took us down this path in the first place?

TorontoVet said...

Good point, Mel. I think it's encoded in my genes, no less than what is responsible for the colour of my eyes.
It's just the training that has taught me what "alopecia" and "Cushing's" are.
Thank you for leaving that very insightful comment.

TONurse said...

I'm certainly glad this is happening to other professionals too! I don't feel so alone now! LOL

Flávia said...

Torontovet and tonurse, I'm glad too.
Here in Brazil, I can stop the ower and ask without problems. And I stop and ask about... (my english, please God, my english), hehe.
We love that we do......its simple.