Veterinarians Look At The Affected Part Last

“I took my dog to see his veterinarian because he was limping on the right rear leg. The doctor examined his entire body and looked at that leg last. Why is that?”

Yours is an excellent question about a common and preferred technique.

Professor after professor in our veterinary school pounded home the “sermon” of looking at the affected part last to prevent overlooking other problems.

It’s not hard to imagine a case like yours distracting a doctor from the remainder of the body. A limping problem always has the potential to be serious, such as bone cancer or a broken bone. If I “zone in” on the right rear leg and begin thinking about fracture repair or chemotherapy, I could easily fail to notice an ear infection, a new lump that has arisen since the last visit, less-evident pain in another leg, a heart murmur, the possibilities go on and on.

Unless the affected part needs immediate attention, gushing blood for example, the best approach is always to look at it last.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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