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Diagnostic testing in first opinion small animal consultations

Robinson, N. J.; Dean, Rachel S.; Cobb, M.; Brennan, M. L.


N. J. Robinson

Rachel S. Dean

Professor of Comparative Veterinary Medicine


DIAGNOSTIC testing is a vital part of the decision-making process, which aims to increase diagnostic certainty, assist management and treatment decisions and provide a prognosis (Radostits and others 2000). A wide range of tests are available, with variable accuracy, expense and risk to the patient, but it is currently unclear how veterinary surgeons are making decisions about which tests to carry out. Understanding the decision-making process is vital in order to ensure that the decisions made during the consultation are based on the best relevant evidence. However, before decision-making around diagnostic testing can be understood, it is neccessary to know which tests are performed most frequently. This may be useful for veterinary practices, for example, when making business decisions surrounding diagnostic equipment and in-house training, and could also help direct veterinary curricula and research.

The aim of this study was to describe the diagnostic tests commonly performed in a convenience sample of first opinion small animal consultations.

Data collection took place over 16 weeks (two weeks each in eight different practices) as part of data gathered for a larger project (Robinson and others 2014a). A previously developed data collection tool (Robinson and others 2014a) was used to record consultation data by direct observation. Data were recorded on all health problems discussed, including the reason for presentation (the presenting problem) and all additional problems discussed (non-presenting problems). For each health problem discussed, the type of diagnostic test(s) was recorded by selecting one option from: None; In-consultation; Post-consultation; Both. Clinical examination, as defined by Robinson and others (2014b), was not considered to be a diagnostic.


Robinson, N. J., Dean, R. S., Cobb, M., & Brennan, M. L. (2015). Diagnostic testing in first opinion small animal consultations. Veterinary Record, 176(7), 174-174.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 3, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 26, 2014
Publication Date Feb 14, 2015
Deposit Date Dec 12, 2016
Publicly Available Date Dec 12, 2016
Journal Veterinary Record
Print ISSN 0042-4900
Electronic ISSN 2042-7670
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 176
Issue 7
Pages 174-174
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


Veterinary Record-2015-Robinson-174.pdf (431 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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