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Triage checks vets use to determine treatment

Explore veterinary check for urinary and abdomen problems as well as fractures and wounds.

Triage checks help veterinarians determine where treatment is necessary. Like in the video above, this might mean injecting a horse with the medication it needs. Note that the video does not have sound.

Triage checks after the three main body systems have been checked:

Urinary checks

  • Has the owner noticed any difficulty urinating? Is the patient passing drops of blood or vocalising when urinating? Or is there excess straining?
  • Is there a large hard bladder on examination?
  • Is the bladder palpable (a non-palpable bladder could indicate a rupture)?

Patients that are suspected of having a blocked bladder should be admitted quickly for catheterisation and/or cystocentesis, as well as assessment of their electrolytes.

Abdomen checks

  • Is the abdomen distended?
  • Does the patient seem painful on abdominal palpation?
  • Are there any obvious palpable masses?

A distended abdomen could indicate significant ascites, or gastric dilatation with or without gastric torsion.

A good way to check if fluid is present is by carrying out a fluid wave test, feeling one side of the abdomen and tapping the other side. If the fluid is present, the tap will be felt on the opposite side. The presence of fluid can then be confirmed using ultrasound.

Fractures and wounds

  • Are there any open fractures or wounds?

Open fractures/wounds should be covered with a moist sterile dressing to reduce infection risk while the patient has a full assessment and treatment for more life-threatening symptoms.

Following this, patients can have a full wound and fracture assessment under sedation/general anaesthetic.

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Veterinary Administration: Admission and Triage

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