History and Physical Examination of the Weanling and Adolescent

CHAPTER 4 History and Physical Examination of the Weanling and Adolescent

In this chapter, the weanling period is defined as that time when the puppy or kitten is walking and capable of spontaneous urination and defecation (about 3 weeks of age) until they are weaned from the dam (about 8 weeks of age). The adolescent period is defined as that period from weaning until full adult height and normal physiology of the major organs is attained. Some may define the adolescent period as ending with puberty, defined as first estrus in females and in males, as acquisition of normal breeding behaviors and semen quality adequate to effect pregnancy. In cats, the end of the adolescent period averages 6 months of age; in dogs, it varies from 6 months of age in toy breeds to 12 to 15 months of age or older in giant breeds (Table 4-1). In most cases, once puppies and kittens attain a size allowing ready collection of blood and urine samples and performance of other diagnostic tests, rule-out lists and diagnostic and treatment plans are the same as for adults.

TABLE 4-1 Timing of significant events in pediatric development

Event Age at occurrence
Capable of walking, urinating, and defecating spontaneously 14 to 21 days
Hematocrit/RBC number stabilize near that of adult 8 weeks
Renal function nears that of adult 8 weeks
Hepatic function nears that of adult 4 to 5 months

RBC, Red blood cell.

Collecting a Comprehensive History

Although clients with a sick puppy or kitten often resent the time taken by a technician or veterinarian to ask historical questions, collection of a relevant history leads the veterinarian’s physical examination and diagnostic testing and may impact plans for therapy. If a significant number of pediatric patients are seen in a practice, it may be beneficial to use the following history questions to create a history template that can be filled out (either as a hard copy or electronically) as puppies and kittens are admitted to the practice.

Physical Examination

Sep 11, 2016 | Posted by in SMALL ANIMAL | Comments Off on History and Physical Examination of the Weanling and Adolescent

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