Bet you have a large collection of photos of your dogs and cats on your phone. We certainly do.
However, I recently reviewed a study on dogs who are doing a lot of licking and it sparked a far more important use of my phone as a way to provide my veterinary team with vital information to help them with a diagnosis.
Take a Video of the Problem
The next time your dog or cat is limping, licking, gagging, or showing any other visible symptom that makes you think about a trip to the vet or a behaviorist, take a video of the symptom or behavior. If you upload the video to an Internet-based site, you can send a link to your vet or play it during your visit.
We all laugh about the number of times a symptom magically disappears when the cat or dog is on the examination table. If that occurs, you can present the video as a part of your report to the doctor.
Take Progressive Photos
In some cases, a close up photo might work better to help you determine if an issue is getting worse or getting better. Taking a photo a day of an injury or problem can be a sure way for you and your vet to assess progress.
We did this recently when Poppy was under treatment for an irritated paw. Each day, after I cleaned and treated her paw, Ed would hold it as open as he could and I’d photograph the area. Looking at the photos together assured us the treatment was working and her paw was healing. You could do the same thing with videos if that works better.
Tips For Photo & Video Communication
- Practice your photo video taking skills before you need them.
- Set up an online account with services like Google Photos, iCloud, or Youtube and learn how to use them to upload your photos and videos, send links to them by email, and show them on your phone.
- If movement is part of the symptom, try to take videos with the animal walking towards you, away from you, and across the screen to give the doctor more points of view.
- Create an album for specific ongoing issues. For example, if your dog is showing signs of seasonal allergies with goopy eyes, take photos of them for a few days and after treatment is underway.
- Do your best in stressful situations. We don’t know if we would have been great videographers when our first Westie Sassy was having seizures. However, it would have been wonderful to have been able to show the veterinary team exactly what her seizures looked like.
- Ask your veterinarian if they would like to be sent a video of a symptom prior to a visit and what they would charge for that type of consultation.
Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photos: © 2012-2016 Penny & Ed Cherubino