Are You Doing Reviews Of Your Pet’s Medical Records?

Are You Doing Reviews Of Your Pet’s Medical Records?

The more you know about your pet’s health, the better you will be able to make informed decisions about your pet’s health care. Doing periodic reviews of your pet’s medical records is an important part of being able to make informed decisions. Knowing your pet’s vaccine history, current weight, feeding regimen, test results, prescriptions and other important health information can help remind you when routine care is due, how to administer medications or provide at-home care. In addition, the knowledge gained from reviewing your pet’s medical records will come in handy at the next veterinary visit as you can be prepared with specific questions.

The question is, what should you look for when doing reviews of those records? The records will include your pet’s age, breed, sex and health history (i.e., surgeries, previous medical complaints, vaccinations, adverse drug reactions). There will also be a record of any communication between you and your veterinary team. If your pet is healthy, you should look for the following items listed below within the records. We’ve also included some questions you might already be thinking of.
 
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Body condition score (BCS)
    • Ideal BCS on the 1-5 scale is 3
    • Ideal BSC on the 1-9 scale is 4 or 5
  • When was my pet’s last physical exam?
  • (Note that your pet should be examined by a veterinarian twice a year).
  • When are the next vaccinations due?
    • Which vaccinations does my pet need based on our lifestyle?
  • Which type of flea preventive are we using?
    • If my pet swims frequently, should the flea preventive be an oral rather than a topical medication? (Note that flea preventive should be given monthly unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise.)
  • Does my pet require a tick prevention product?
    • Consult your veterinarian for tick prevention options as some products can be toxic to cats in particular.
    • Can my dog’s fleas be treated at the grooming salon?
    • What can I apply directly to my cat’s skin that isn’t harmful?
  • Which type of heartworm preventive are we using?
    • Is it being given to my pet at monthly intervals?
    • When is my pet due for a heartworm test?
  • When was my pet’s last fecal exam?
    • When was my pet given the last dewormer?
  • When was the last blood and/or urine screening performed?
    • Your pet should have a complete blood count/biochemistry and urinalysis every 12 months.
If your pet has been diagnosed with a medical problem, there are other things you should be on the lookout for.
 
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is the most common abnormality noted in a medical record. With that in mind, you might ask:
    • Does my pet need a dental exam/cleaning?
    • Are there dietary changes that I can make to decrease tartar build-up and/or gingivitis?
    • How can I brush my pet’s teeth?
This is just a starting point, as there can be many other conditions that may be noted in your pet’s records. Many times you’ll see abbreviations in the records making it hard for you to interpret the notes. However, your veterinarian will be happy to explain what these and other medical terms mean.
 

Below are a few examples of commonly used veterinary abbreviations:

 
  • 12yo: 12-year-old
  • MN: male neutered
  • FAD: Flea Allergy Dermatitis
  • PO: Taken orally
  • q 24hrs: Once Daily
  • q 8hrs: Every 8 Hours
  • PRN: As required only
  • EDUD: If the pet is eating, drinking, urinating and defecating normally
  • V+: Vomiting
  • D+: Diarrhea
  • MM: Mucus membranes
  • CRT: Capillary refill time
  • HR: Heart rate
  • RR: Respiratory rate
  • Temp: Temperature
  • LN: Lymph nodes
  • MSK: Musculoskeletal system
  • GI: Gastrointestinal tract
  • UG: Urogenital tract
  • WNL: Within normal limits
Some veterinarians may use different abbreviations, too, so if in doubt, ask them what they’ve written. If you have any questions regarding the specifics of your pet’s medical records, then ideally you would make an appointment to review the records with the veterinarian so that everything makes sense.

If you are a Banfield Pet Hospital® client, you can access your pet’s records via our online portal. If you’ve already created an account, you can login to view your pet’s health information. Or new users can register for portal access.

PLEASE NOTE: Pet medical records are for services related to Optimum Wellness Plans only.