Idea Exchange: Free tech exams monitor patients' quality of life


Old or terminally ill patients can benefit from this reader tip.

We have several patients that are either very old and have various clinical signs or that are terminally ill and their owners are not continuing with diagnostic tests or medical treatment, instead preferring to "have them live out their lives at home." To help ensure that these animals have a decent quality of life, we invite these clients to bring their pets in once a month—or as appropriate—for a technician examination at no charge.

During this examination, the pet is weighed, and any weight loss is noted and discussed. The technician will also gauge whether there is any level of dehydration, observe if there is urine scald or feces on the pet, and discuss quality of life issues, such as appetite level, activity level, vocalization, confusion, or restlessness at night.

These examinations put us in a better position to help educate these clients, which we hope leads to better home care for their pets. At the very least, these clients become informed as to what changes are occurring with their pets that they may not have noticed, and some even go forward with supportive or palliative care measures.

The Staff of Dr. Wolf's Animal Medical Center

Dedham, Mass.

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