A thorough clinical history should be
obtained in all cardiorespiratory cases, with attention being given to all body
Once the predominant cardiorespiratory
clinical sign (
) is identified, its duration, severity
and progression need to be determined. (More detailed discussions of the common
clinical syndromes with cardiorespiratory diseases are presented in
, including coughing, dyspnoea and tachypnoea,
weakness and collapse.)
If two or more clinical signs are present,
it is necessary to determine whether they are due to the same primary problem
or to separate conditions (the latter is less common).
Vaccination and worming status should
be determined as these may be relevant to respiratory diseases in young dogs
History of disease in the dam or sire
can be useful, especially for heart disease.
Evidence of contact with other animals
or of having been in an area where a particular condition is enzootic may be
important for respiratory diseases and parasitic diseases (lungworm or heartworm).
The presence of clinical signs suggestive
of concurrent involvement of other body systems should also be noted. The extent
of lethargy, willingness to exercise, exercise tolerance and the presence of
vomiting, diarrhoea, polydipsia and polyuria and appetite change should be noted.
Check if there has been a long-standing
murmur present suggestive of congenital heart disease or valvular endocardiosis.
A recent onset murmur may suggest dilated cardiomyopathy; a new and changing
one may be due to endocarditis.
Any previous therapy should also be noted.
The response to therapy can be useful in the diagnosis of several respiratory
conditions, while in cardiac diseases it may give an initial guide to the expected
future response to cardiac therapy.
Evidence of trauma, even several years
prior to presentation, may also be relevant and any history of scavenging or
potential access to poisons such as paraquat and warfarin should be noted.
Check if there is a previous history
of neoplasms that have been surgically removed; the histopathological identity
of such tumours should be obtained.
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