• Katie Taylor, MA, CVPM

Giving Medical Advice Without a Physical Exam

Updated: Jul 16

...And Why we Can't Do It.

  1. The right treatment can only start with the right diagnosis. We can only achieve a proper diagnosis after a physical exam and diagnostic findings or by ruling out other potential conditions.

  2. Many conditions have similar symptoms but require different treatments. For example, vomiting can be caused by many things. An itchy ear can be a bacterial or yeast infection or even mites. Limping might resolve on its own if it is a mild injury, but it can also be a break or ligament tear that will get worse without quick treatment.

  3. Our patients cannot self-disclose. This means they cannot tell the doctor what's wrong. We have to detect it by careful examination and diagnostics when indicated. A pet can't tell us what hurts or if they feel nauseated. You might see one symptom but you need a Veterinarian to check for other issues that will lead her to the right diagnosis. The right treatment always starts with the right diagnosis.

  4. A few months in the life of an animal can be the equivalent of a few years to us. Diseases can progress and appear faster that you would expect. We require physical examinations every year but really, every 6 months is ideal. We understand the difficulty in coordinating and paying for a visit this often, but if your pet has a new or worsening symptom and we haven't seen your pet in a few months, we may ask that another exam be performed.

  5. We are legally and ethically required to follow standards of care. The Veterinary Medical Board sets the minimum requirements for Veterinary Care. We belong to the California Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Association and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, which all provide ethical and practical standards that improve pet care and health for everyone.

This is why we may insist on examination of your pet instead of hedging our bets. To make bringing your pet in just a bit easier: you can drop-off so you don't have to wait in our office, and you can book your appointment directly on our website.


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