Dermatology: 20 questions to ask clients


The more you know about your patients, the better. Ask clients these questions while taking a dermatology history.

Dr. Craig E. Griffin, DACVD, past president of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD) and the founder and co-owner of San Diego-based Animal Dermatology Clinics, says the list of questions you ask as you take a pet's history may be long and vary from clinic to clinic, based on the pet's signs and reason for visiting your practice. Ask your clients these questions to better understand their pet's ear problems:

1. How did you first realize the ears were a problem?

2. Did you see head shaking or scratching at the ears?

3. Have you noticed an odor coming from the ears?

4. Does another pet lick the pet's ears?

5. Have you noticed any discharge from the ears?

6. Do you clean your pet's ears?

7. If yes, do you clean them on a regular basis, or only when signs occur?

8. What signs do you notice?

9. Why do you clean the pet's ears?

10. Have you ever been told to clean the pet's ears regularly?

11. Do you clean the pet's ears during grooming?

12. Do you use any ear medications? If yes, which types? Cleansers, medicated drops, or ointments?

13. Is your pet itchy anywhere else?

14. Does your pet lick or groom its paws?

15. Where does the pet or lick? Please describe all sites, even if no skin lesions are present.

Some less frequently asked questions that will be helpful as the doctor makes a diagnosis include queries about the pet's gastrointestinal health, says Dr. Griffin. For example, you might ask:

16. How many bowel movements a day does your pet have?

17. Is your pet gassy?

18. Do you hear stomach sounds or gurgling from your pet?

19. Do you ever see blood or mucus in your pet's stools?

20. Does your pet burp?

Once you know the right questions to ask clients, click here to study questions clients might ask you.

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