Image ©iStockPhoto/Slava Gutsko
Image ©iStockPhoto/Slava Gutsko

Vets are always taught, quite rightly, the power of effective history taking. The value of it is undeniable, particularly in certain disciplines, such as dermatology.

However, over the years I’ve learned to clarify with owners exactly what they are saying. For example, I’ve found “he’s not eating” means quite different things to different people.

The “so what I understand from what you are saying is that he hasn’t touched his food for a week?” question can sometimes produce an “oh no, it’s just he hasn’t eaten his Boneo/prawns/mixer (delete as appropriate) for the past few days”, or “she’s eating human food, but not her own food” is another common reply. So it’s always worthwhile just clarifying with owners what they mean – you might be surprised by the reply.

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