Have you been tasked with monitoring at least one aspect of your pet's vitals?
Are you confused about where to start?
Well, don’t panic... Here is how to accomplish it!!
Monitoring vitals is a crucial part of each and every visit to your Veterinarians' office. Occasionally, there are times where you will also need to keep an eye on your pet's vitals at home. So let us break this down to make this a manageable task, and therefore more likely to get accurate measurements to help your Veterinarian!
What are Vitals?
Technically, they are specific clinical measurements of one's temperature, pulse (heart rate) rate, respiratory (breathing) rate, and blood pressure. These clinical measurements are checked each time you bring your pet to see their doctor. We take these measurements so routinely that you may not even realize it is being done!
Over the last several years, the concepts of pain and pain management have become more widespread within the veterinary community. There has been a growing need to understand the physiology of pain, identify the signs of pain, and be able to provide pain relief to our patient population, in order to enhance our patients’ comfort and overall quality of life.
The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as, “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage”. Pain starts through stimulation of pain receptors (called nociceptors) that are present within the central nervous system, and are responsible for causing a pain response. Pain is a sensory process (nociception) that involves a series of electrical events, starting at the site of tissue injury, which then conveys signals to the brain, and results in the perception of pain (Figure 1). Perception is how the animal feels pain and is a subjective experience.
Signs of pain can be classified as either behavioral or physiological. Behavioral signs are usually recognized first as they occur outwardly and are more readily observed. Physiological signs are systemic in nature, and therefore require a more hands on approach for assessment. Both behavioral and physiological signs are summarized below (Table 1).
Animals get diabetes too?
Yup, dogs and cats can develop diabetes. In this post we'll be discussing the basics of diabetes, the diagnosis, and how to manage it. More complicated diabetes will be covered in a future post.
Diabetes, or Diabetes Mellitus to be specific, is a condition in which the pancreas no longer makes enough of the hormone insulin for proper health. Insulin is a hormone essential for the body to efficiently use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Another essential function of insulin is efficient use of glucose, the body's energy source. When there is not enough insulin in the body, glucose isn't used properly so body cells starve and the glucose leaves the body through urine. Starving cells need some sort of energy, so if glucose isn't available muscle and fat can be used, which is not healthy and leads to quick weight loss and other metabolic issues. Glucose leaving in the urine causes water to leave quicker too causing extreme thirst and urination.
How would I know if my pet has diabetes?
There are some clinical signs, or symptoms, you may notice at home. Extreme thirst and urination is definitely something to let your veterinarian know about. There are several reason for this to happen and diabetes is one of them. A pet that is always hungry can also be a warning sign. Since the body is not using glucose properly it feels hungry. Loosing weight is also a red flag. Sudden, extreme weight loss without a decreased appetite can indicate diabetes.
Here's a good info-graphic from Vetsulin to see if your pet is experiencing symptoms of diabetes.
A little organ tucked in that helps with digestion
Nestled between the lobes of the liver, lies the gallbladder. It serves as a reservoir for bile. As the liver produces the bile, it moves through canals (called canniculi) through the liver until it travels through the hepatic duct and into the gallbladder. Once food has entered the stomach, a chemical cue stimulates the gallbladder to release the bile. The bile flows from the gallbladder through the common bile duct and is secreted into the stomach to facilitate digestion of the meal.
The gallbladder is part of the gastrointestinal system and is important in digesting food.
Occasionally, problems can arise! Problems can stem from obstructions, neoplasia (cancer), or stones, to name a few. Obstructions can be caused by an inflamed and swollen pancreas (pancreatitis) compressing the common bile duct, gall stones blocking the duct completely, or cancer. Or, the bile itself can become too thick to travel through the common bile duct and can back up in the gallbladder itself and cause pain and discomfort. Sometimes the bile can become a mucous ball that does not leave the gallbladder, this is called a mucocele and can be an emergency situation.
Addressing problems affecting the gallbladder quickly is important because if they are left untreated, they can cause serious complications. If you notice your pet not eating as well as they used to, vomiting, or if your pets skin, eyes or gums begin to turn yellow, please seek veterinary care immediately.
If your veterinarian recommends removal of your pets gallbladder, do not fret! Cats and dogs can live long and healthy lives without it and not suffer any complications!
Ashley DiPrete, RVT, VTS (SAIM) is a Registered Veterinary Technician practicing in California and obtained her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2016. She is the co-founder and a contributing author for InternalMedicineForPetParents.com. Visit her author page here.
A giant Thank You to all the veterinary technicians working closely with pet parents ensuring the best lives possible for pets diagnosed with intricate internal medicine diseases. They work closely with pet parents to educate them and get updates about pets, ensure patients have the best care possible, work tirelessly with veterinarians sometimes around the clock and on holidays, and continuously learn new skills to keep up to date on medical practices. Vet Techs wear many, many hats.
Our pets are living longer than ever and we want to celebrate veterinary technicians this week for working with us.
We're celebrating veterinary technicians all week on our Facebook page. We hope you join the conversation. You can also follow #vettechweek or #nationalvettechweek on social media for more.
Wondering what a veterinary technician is and what we do? Read the blog post titled Who's Who in the Vet Clinic Part 1 to learn what a veterinary technician is and Who's Who in the Vet Clinic Part 2 to learn more about a specialty veterinary technician.
You're welcome to leave a thank you below for any veterinary technician who has made a big impact on the life of your pet and you!
This website is NOT a substitute for veterinary care with a veterinarian. We recommend you follow the advice and treatment plan as prescribed by your veterinarian, and only after discussing anything found on this website with your veterinarian, with their approval, implementing advice found here.
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