Dr. Ashly LaRoche
Oftentimes after a veterinary visit, a recheck examination is recommended several weeks later. Owners frequently feel the pet is better and improved and cancel that appointment. Re-evaluation examinations are very important for things like skin and ear infections. The ear canals are deep and have a vertical ear canal connected to a horizontal ear canal. The ears can only be fully examined with an otoscope. We can only see a very small part of the ear canals without an instrument. The infection may seem to be gone but often there is infection remaining in the deep horizontal part of the ear canal. It is very important to know that this infection is resolved. For instance, if the infection is documented as resolved and the dog or cat returns for another infection weeks or months later, it may be that underlying allergies are contributing and need to be managed to truly resolve the recurrent ear infections. For ear infections or skin infections that truly do not resolve, bacterial and fungal resistance may be suspected. Then a culture of the skin or ears is recommended. At the re-evaluation appointments, often maintenance of the ears or skin with cleansers , flushes, and appropriate shampoos are recommended and techniques demonstrated. This may save unnecessary visits in the future and hence owner cost with a long –term maintenance plan tailored for the individual pet. Veterinarians understand cost concerns and that the owners’ time is valuable, but re-evaluation appointments are very important and designed to prevent recurrence of issues and provide the best treatment and a maintenance plan for the pet.