One of my favorite client recommendations involves the use of a small, spiral-bound notebook (or a handy PDA, depending on your taste) and a pencil (or a set of quick thumbs). Keeping a log is so simple...and bears such magnificent fruit when carefully employed.

In case your veterinarian has never suggested it, you should know that many chronic, episodic or as yet undiagnosed pet diseases are amenable to the invaluable assistance offered by the low-tech tool that is journal-keeping.

  • Diabetes (all varieties)
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Allergic skin disease
  • Seizure disorders
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Cardiac diseases

The list would be longer if it wasn’t so early in the morning, but these are the most common disorders for which I strongly recommend my clients keep a log.

It’s a bit different for each individual disease but the basics are the same. In your journal you report on...

  • Medication doses and frequency
  • Feeding or other home care details
  • Symptom presence, duration and description 
  • Veterinary visits, findings and recommendations

All this is recorded by date, of course, with some disorders requiring specific times of day.

Here’s where your veterinarian comes in. Your job is first to ask your veterinarian which details are most important to record. For example, seizure disorder pets may require the observation and recording of the different phases of the seizure and their timing. Diabetics will most definitely require details on insulin doses, blood glucose measurements, etc. 

Next up is the issue of how to present your findings. Some of you will anally graph and chart your findings. Others will simply ensure it’s legible and easily digestible by your veterinarian (doesn’t count if no one can understand your scribblings, right?). Doesn’t have to be pretty––just needs to be understandably organized and basically intelligible.

See how easy it is? 

Believe it or not, this simple task will help your veterinarian immeasurably. It’ll help guide a diagnosis, if the disorder’s provenance is as yet undetermined. It’ll make medication dosing more targeted and efficient. It may even save your pet’s life.

Oh, and one more’ll definitely endear you to your veterinarian.