The consultation is the start of any diagnostic or treatment journey.


Signalment, the basic data of the patient is the starting point. Age, Species, Breed, Sex, Whether Neutered or Not.

Some diseases are age related, others restricted to just one sex and certain breeds are more prone diseases than others.


This is then followed by what a clinician calls “the History”. The owners “story” behind the problem.

The history can be expanded by skilled questioning and most importantly listening.

The history is probably the most important part of the consultation process. 

A key part of the history is to obtain the “chronicity” of the problem. That is to say “how long” has the pet had the problem.

The history will also often allow the Veterinary Surgeon to concentrate on certain areas or even the reverse and to expand the possible diagnoses. 

For instance Pets who have been abroad or imported could have diseases that UK based pets would never contract.

Clinical Examination

The next part of the consultation is often a 12-part clinical examination and assessment of pet’s vital signs.

This may include examination of ears, eyes, mouth, chest, heart and lungs, skin, muscles, bones and joints, skin and coat condition, reproductive organs and the urinary and digestive systems.

Often the skilled clinician is performing all these different threads of the consultation process concurrently.

Once all the data is collected the Vet tries to decide what the problem is and what treatment is required.

Lady Veterinary Surgeon holding out a stethoscope in the shape of a heart

Further Diagnostic Tests

Unfortunately sometimes the answer is not obvious and may require obtaining more data to work with.

This further data is obtained by diagnostic tests.

This website,  has a lot of detailed information on further diagnostic tests.

Health map

David likes to expand on the consultation process by using the concept of the pet health map. The backbone of this concept is the consultation and clinical examination but it also draws upon other areas such as  the pet’s diet, vaccination status, behaviour and exercise routine. It is a more holistic view on pet health.