Intake Examinations

An intake examination must be performed on every animal as per the Ontario SPCA Intake Protocol.

Scan animal for microchip ( Microchipping Guidelines ). If a chip is found then appropriate steps should be followed to determine the animal’s identification and ownership.

  • TPR (Temperature, Pulse, Respiration) – HR (Heart Rate), RR (Respiratory Rate), Temperature, CRT (Capillary Refill Time), and Weight.
  • Overall appearance – BAR (Bright, Alert, Responsive), QAR (Quiet, Alert, Responsive), D & D (Dull and Depressed).
  • Hydration status – Lift up skin between shoulder blades. It should snap back into place. If it remains tented or takes more than a second to return to normal, the animal’s hydration is likely abnormal
  • Musculoskeletal – Have a look from a distance first. Note any abnormal findings on lameness, asymmetry, etc. If animal allows, run hands over body to feel for swelling, lumps, bumps, sensitive areas, or any other abnormal findings.
  • Skin – Look for fleas and evidence of infection. Feel coat for excess oiliness, dirt or grease.
  • Woods Lamp Exam – As per the Woods Lamp Protocol
  • Body condition – The animal should have good muscle mass (ribs, vertebrae and hips should not be easily visible). Follow the guidelines below for body scoring:
  • Heart and lungs – Check for any heart murmurs, or abnormal lung sounds using a stethoscope.
  • Ears – Look for abnormal signs, signs of infection, smell for any signs of yeast.
  • Eyes – Look for signs of discharge and infection, look for signs of inflammation, redness or irritation.
  • Nose – Look for signs of nasal discharge or blockage. This is also an indication of an upper respiratory infection.
  • Mouth – Assess age and health, look for broken teeth or pus or a red line along the gum line.
  • Mucus membranes – Gum and conjunctiva should be pink and moist; compare colour to your own nail bed.
  • Lymph nodes – Notice if nodes are easily palpable or cannot be located.
  • Trachea – Check for any coughing after stimulating the trachea (For dogs only)
  • Abdomen/Mammary glands – Check if there is any pain or any firm masses in the abdomen. Check to see if milk present if glands enlarged, if glands are hard.
  • Urogenital – Check for any discharge, number of testicles, spay scar, etc.

Note results from physical examination into the animal’s Shelter Buddy entry, as well as Intake Examination Form.

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