2011/12/18 lim ..@hotmail.com>
Dear Dr Sing
I have attached a document on the case studies I have seen on the 2nd day of internship, 18 December 2011. Is this what you want of the daily case studies or does it have to be more detailed?
Name of Intern
REPLY FROM DR SING DATED DEC 19, 2011
Thanks for email. During internship, one case study per day is to be recorded for me to review and discussed with you. Otherwise, being a bystander standing around the vet will not enable you to appreciate the diverse aspects of vet medicine and surgery and its varied clinical presentations and challenges to a correct diagnosis.
Evidence-based medicine and knowing how to arrive at a correct diagnosis is not so easy in some rare cases as in this Sheltie whose condition may be mis-diagnosed as ringworm when the actual cause of the hair loss is due to hormonal factors.
One Case study should be written with the following format using the Sheltie you saw yesterday Sunday as an example. You re-write your case study with as much info of the case under the following headings:
CASE NO. 1 DATE:
1. Description of patient - breed, gender, age, colour. Not spayed.
2. Chief complaint - hair loss. Other complaints -
3. History - Hair loss for the last 5 years. Hair grows back after the heat and problem of hair loss recurs. Not fully recovered. Seen 2 vets.
4. Presenting sign: Vulval enlarged over 20X normal. Hyperpigmented black.
5. Examination and tests (blood, urine, skin etc).
8. Review/Outcome/Follow up - 2 weeks later. Date to be written on medical record.
8. Against Medical Advices - to be written down
As reviewed by me, what should have been included in this case were:
1. Where were the medical records of other vets? This should be recorded if the owner does not bring them. If owner said "Blood test of other vet is OK," the vet should not take the owner's word for it and ask for the blood test results. Some owners do NOT want to pay for another blood test and this should be recorded under "Against Medical Advices".
2. When was the last heat? This should be asked.
From my review of the above case, the main diagnosis would be a case of hyperestrogenism rather than fungal infections of the dog. Fungal infections are present but the dog's problem will not be cured even if the ringworm is eliminated. So, the owner goes to another vet later for a 4th opinion or just accept that nothing can be done. The dog was put on a hypo-allergic diet by the previous vet for one month. This would be too early to eliminate dry food allergy as a cause of the hair loss.
Now, the Presenting Sign of a swollen vulva 3 months after the end of heat and its presence for over the last 5 years point to a high probability of hyperestrogenism.
The solution for this owner is to spay his dog after the skin infections are resolved in around 4 weeks' time. However the dog is old and there are high anaesthetic risks. This case is quite rare. I had seen less than 10 cases over the past 30 years of small animal practice. So a mis-diagnosis can easily be made as the skin signs of recurring hair loss distracts from the PRESENTING SIGN. A blood test for hormonal levels should be advised in theory and as part of the practice of evidence-based medicine.