Common Diseases and Pathologies
Next, the whole of the dog is examined, but special attention is given to palpation of the affected limb/s. Palpation is possibly the single most important part of the physical examination of the dog. Touch provides information regarding heat, pain, swelling, joint effusion, and any notable differences between left and right. Thus, ‘normal’ anatomical features of the patient can be ruled out from being the cause of the pathology. Flexion and extension of the joints of the affected limb/s should be conducted, bearing in mind it is impossible to isolate all of the joints completely, such as the elbow and shoulder. Flexion of the elbow would result in some ﬂexion of the shoulder, making it difﬁcult to localize the affected area. Care should be taken, as the aim is not to exacerbate the condition, nor should the patient be aggravated. It should be remembered that different dogs will manifest discomfort in different ways. Salivation, a sideways glance, shifting weight onto different limbs, vocalizing, and obvious shows of aggression can all be indicative of pain.