A history worse than a thousand words

January 4, 2021
Karen Robb Wheeler, DVM

Vetted, Vetted January 2021, Volume 16, Issue 1

Cheers to the clients who make obtaining a patient history, ahem, a breeze.

I like history. You like history. Let’s give this a go.
You say your dog is limping and he had a swollen toe?
His left foot. One day. No known trauma. This is going good!
Oh wait. There’s more? I knew it! (I should have knocked on wood.)

So it started on his left side? Right? What? Other left side? Whoa!
Your
left side? No! Looking at him doesn’t change it so.
Pretend he is a car. Is it the driver’s side that’s lame?
Okay. The passenger is bad. It’s good we’ve played this game.

So now, we know he’s right side lame, and it started yesterday.
You say it showed up suddenly when he went outside to play.
Wait. Friday he was limping, too? Okay. Five days. That’s cool.
What? Licked a toad? It made him puke? And then he sat in drool?

OK, I think I’ve got this. He’s been limping several days.
Last week he also licked a toad, but now he seems okay?
Oh no, he’s not, you say. He’s sick. He vomits every night.
He pees a lot. He’s seems depressed. There’s something that’s not right.

There’s more? The neighbor told you that your dog poops in his yard,
So you think the neighbor poisoned him and kicked him really hard?
Well, we can do some testing, but it would be hard to prove.
Umm, really that is up to you if you think you should move.

Now let’s start our exam…. Oh, what? You’ve something more to share?
You’ve also noticed that your dog has lost a lot of hair.
And he’s itchy. (Sigh). Of course he is. And his ear is not so great.
It’s the one there on his driver side? Yes, glad we’ve got that straight.

So let me try to summarize—he’s been limping on his right.
He pees a lot. He itches. Loses hair. Pukes every night.
The toad was mad. The left ear’s bad. He seems a bit depressed.
And your neighbor’s retribution could have added to this mess.

Whew! That is quite a history! It puts the rest to shame.
But on busy days, when I run late, it’s not my favorite game.
Oh wait? There’s more? Sob! Please excuse the tears. Yes, I am fine.
It’s just I once liked history, but today you’ve changed my mind.

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