Monthly Archives: December 2010

New guinea pig wellness exam

**Dear Learning Vet readers: I removed the video because I don’t have proper permissions from the client and no longer have a way to contact them. So sorry! You can still read over the transcript below to get an idea of what I covered. Thanks for your understanding!  –TLV **

In this video (removed), I examine a newly-adopted, young guinea pig. The very enthusiastic (and adorable) girl in the video brought Sugar in for her first exam to make sure she’s starting off on the right foot with her very first pet. Here are some thoughts/observations to take note of:

– When I examine smaller mammals, such as guinea pigs, rabbits and chinchillas, I prefer to lay a towel for the pet to sit on. They really don’t like the slippery surface of the exam table and can hurt themselves if they try too much to scramble away.

– Notice my “sign-posting”–this is a communication tool which means I tell people what I’m doing before or while I’m doing it. “What I’m going to do today is…”

– For the exam, I wrap the guinea pig snugly in a towel, also known as the “burrito technique”.

– I usually have a technician in the room with me for dogs and cats, but not always with exotics. Still, I need a little help holding her still, so I ask for the girl’s assistance.

– I start my exam with the mouth. I use an otoscope with a large head and a magnifying lens, which helps me examine the teeth. If there’s too much green stuff/food in the mouth, I use cotton-tipped applicators to swab it all out. It’s sooo important to see those teeth! I want to observe even/smooth molar wear.

– The owner has lots of questions and stories, so I struggled a little bit with staying “on track”, which means I’m more likely to miss something, since I’m not following my usual routine.

– I like holding guinea pigs and rabbits in the “C position” for nail trims. They usually hold more still this way.

– After the exam, I spend time talking about diet and husbandry.

– Diet discussion takes place 7:53-11:35

– Vitamin C discussion at 12:30

– Cage setup discussion approximately 14:25

– Talking about types of health problems guinea pigs can have: 16:30

– Video concludes before I dismissed the patient. I think it’s important to let owners know “what’s next”, even for wellness visits, so I told them I recommend a wellness exam every 6 months.


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The beginning of the blog

I’m starting this blog with the idea that it can help other veterinarians, vets-to-be, and even others in the pet world. One of the things I admire most about the veterinary field is the opportunity to continuously learn and strive for self-improvement. My hope is that I can help others who may not have access to mentoring or other resources that help with teaching skills crucial for private practice. Initially I thought this blog would be posted anonymously, but it quickly became apparent that it won’t be hard to figure out who I am (my name is on my lab coat which appears in videos I plan to post). This most definitely will not be a high-volume blog, due to the fact that I already have no spare time. But I hope its followers chime in and interact, as I think we all have things to learn from one another. I certainly don’t want anyone to make the mistake that just because I say it, it’s so. I know as well as any veterinarian that there is a LOT I don’t know, and the confidence with which I make my statements should not lead one to necessarily interpret them as correct. I primarily want to help vet students and foreign vets with examples of exam room etiquette. I may also include videos demonstrating clinical technique or examples of worth exam findings. Because I really enjoy seeing/treating exotic animals, I will include some examples of those too.

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