Suwanee Animal Hospital
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Monday 7.00am - 8.00pm
Tuesday - Friday 7.00an - 6.00pm
Saturdays 8.00am - 1.00pm
Sun & Public Holidays Closed
85 Buford Hwy
Suwanee, GA 30024
Tel: (770) 271-8716
The Best in Modern Animal Health Care
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Diagnostic Process


It is extremely rare for a specific set of symptoms to occur in only one disease, a term called pathognomic. Since almost all diseases exhibit similar symptoms, how is a diagnosis of a disease made by one of our doctors? We utilize a methodical and thorough scientific approach to help narrow down the possibilities.

Signalment
A pets age, breed, and sex can be an important aid in making a diagnosis, since most diseases have a prevalence towards a specific group. The signalment helps us narrow down possibilities, and gives us a potential list of likely problems.

Some Examples:
1: The predisposition terriers have to skin conditions, especially allergies.
2: Male cats get more urinary blockage problems than females.
3: Dalmations tend to get more bladder stones of a specific type than do most breeds.
4: Thyroid problems tend to occur in cats that are over 8 years of age.
5: Young dogs tend to have more skin conditions caused by ectoparasites like Demodectic and Sarcoptic mange (Scabies) than they do allergies.

History
An observant owner can be extremely helpful in describing the symptoms that a pet is exhibiting and the circumstances surrounding the problem. This information can be crucial to the diagnosis of certain diseases. Our Doctors keep a record and in some cases have records transfered in about the health history of your pet. This is valuable information to us, Doctors get hints from your pets history that are useful for diagnosing current health problems.

Physical Exam
A thorough physical exam is one of the most beneficial means of diagnosing a disease. When used in combination with signalment and history, a significant number of diseases can be properly diagnosed. Sometimes, when it is impossible or impractical to perform laboratory tests, the signalment, history, and physical exam are the only means available to come to an accurate diagnosis.

After the physical exam our doctors will make a list of most likely causes of the problem. This list is called the tentative diagnosis. Diagnostic tests are then recommended based on this list, which are used to rule in or rule out certain diseases. For example, if your cat has diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) as a tentative diagnosis, yet has a normal blood sugar and no sugar in the urine, then this disease is put at the bottom of this list or maybe even completely ruled out.

Diagnostic Tests
With the increasing body of knowledge concerning traditional tests (blood samples and x-rays), and the advent of new and powerful diagnostic tests (ultrasound, MRI scans, antibody assays), diseases are being diagnosed with an ever increasing accuracy. As crucial as these tests are to an accurate diagnosis, it is extremely rare to make a diagnosis based solely on these test results without utilizing Signalment, History, and Physical Exam findings.

For sick pets we like to at least perform what is termed a "minimum data base". This consists of a blood panel, urinalysis, and fecal exam. Other tests might be indicated based on Signalment, History, and Physical Exam.

Some of these tests require significant "interpretation", and are influenced by when they are obtained and how they are obtained. Since no test is perfect, we always interpret test results in conjunction with the full picture of what is going on with your pet.

Response to Treatment
Whether a pet gets better or not from a specific treatment may help confirm or omit a diagnosis. Some diseases respond quite well to therapy, so a lack of response in a given time (this varies for each disease and how long your pet has been sick) is valuable information.

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Suwanee's First Vet Clinic
Suwanee Animal Hospital

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We extend a sincere invitation for you and your pets to visit our office. We are confident you will receive the finest healthcare for your pets in a professional and caring environment.

Located in the heart of Suwanee just a half mile north of the Suwanee City Hall on Buford Highway serving the Sugar Hill, Lawrenceville, Buford, Duluth, Flowery Branch and Johns Creek area Since 1989.