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Introduction to veterinary care

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Abstract

Early recognition of signs of ill health during the initial stages of disease is vital to ensure diagnosis and treatment. In certain conditions, this early diagnosis is likely to lead to a more satisfactory long-term response. Preventative veterinary healthcare includes the performance of a regular routine examination, in order to identify normal states. This entails methods of handling and restraint to allow examination of the animal; in addition, grooming is necessary to facilitate thorough examination of skin and to maintain coat condition. A further facet of healthcare and preventative medicine is nutrition, tailored to the animal's lifestyle and life stage. This chapter presents information on How to perform a basic physical examination; Regular health checks that are necessary and how to measure and record vital signs; Recognizing the signs of good and poor health; Correct terminology of normal and abnormal conditions; Prediction of the common behavioural characteristics of the dog and cat; Restraint equipment; Preventative healthcare management; Grooming equipment; Basic nutrition.

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Figures

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6.1 Regular health checks and procedures and their suggested frequency.
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6.2 How to perform a basic physical examination.
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6.7 Example of daily hospitalization record sheet. (Courtesy of Nantwich Veterinary Hospital, Cheshire.)
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6.9 Assessing information from owners: an example.
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6.19 A submissive dog.
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6.21 Types of commercial muzzle. Nylon. Box.
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6.24 Dog graspers (or dog catchers) vary in complexity. The simplest form consists of a long handle with a lasso loop of rope or another material at one end. The other end of the rope runs up the handle so that the size of the loop can be controlled once the loop has been placed over the dog’s head.
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6.26 How to restrain a dog.
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6.27 Cat body language. Normal relaxed posture. Friendly cat. Aggressive cat. Frightened cat. Conflict. Redrawn after Thorne (1992). Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission.
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6.28 Minimal restraint of a cat. With one hand over the chest wall and the other supporting the rump, the cat is held firmly towards the handler’s body.
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6.29 How to lift a cat.
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6.30 How to hold a cat for examination.
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6.31 Cat grasper. Unlike dog catchers, cat graspers do not incorporate a loop to lasso the animal but are designed like a set of tongs to grasp the cat by the neck. They should only be used in extreme cases. lift the unsupported body by the neck (use a towel to wrap up the limbs).
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6.38 A selection of grooming equipment.
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6.41 How to cut claws.
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6.42 How to introduce dental hygiene.
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6.50 Types of bowl design.

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