Cardiorespiratory diseases represent a large proportion of the internal medicine cases in small animal practice. The overall incidence of heart disease in small animals is approximately 10% with congenital diseases accounting for 1 in 10 of these.
It is important to recognise the case that requires further investigation. In a typically busy practice, finding the time to properly investigate a case can be a problem. When presented with difficult cases, or where the natural progression of the disease no longer matches the previous diagnosis or treatment, further investigation is required. This may necessitate a reappraisal of all the clinical information, beginning with a thorough history. Reappraisal of a case is time consuming and would require a longer than usual consultation period. Referral for specialist opinion should always be considered as a possible approach.
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