A typical general practice case you might see is an animal with hot spots.
DEFINITION: HOT SPOT – An area on an animal that has been licked over and over often causing skin infections. Hot spots can be located anywhere on an animal that can be reached with the tongue.
When a case like this comes into the hospital, the doctor will do a physical exam and request certain diagnostics.
DEFINITION: DIAGNOSTICS – Various tests to be done to help determine a diagnosis.
It is the technicians responsibility to restrain the patient while the exam is being performed. In addition to restraint, the tech will also perform diagnostic testing for the doctor. The most standard diagnostic testing includes blood work (CBC/CHEM and PCV/TP) and radiographs. These tests are run to rule out other problems that might be going on with the patient before treatment can take place for the hot spots.
CBC (complete blood count) indicates electrolyte imbalances, present infection, and anemia.
CHEM (chemisrty) indicates organ malfuction and/ or disease
PCV/ TP (packed cell volume/ total protein) indicates anemia and dehydration
RADIOGRAPHS (xrays) diagnostic imaging
the above are not complete definitions of each diagnostic.
Once the diagnostics have been completed, and it’s been determined that the animal is stable enough for treatment, the doctor will give orders to treat the patient.
Treatment for hot spots include shaving, cleaning, and applying antibiotic ointment to the affected area(s). The MOST important treatment to prevent worsening or re-occurance of hot spots is to place an Elizbethan-collar on the patient to prevent licking or scratching the wounds.
DEFINITION: ELIZBETHAN-COLLAR (e-collar or cone) a collar that is worn around the neck, in the shape of a cone, that prohibits licking.
Before the patient is discharged from the hospital, it is the responsibility of the tech to fill any prescriptions and provide the owner with detailed discharge instructions. Discharge instructions explain to the client what procedures were performed, how to keep the area clean, and how to administer medications.
In most cases, treating hot spots are very straight forward and often heal with very few complications.