Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

Observing consultations

The aim of this study was to identify commonly encountered patients, presentations and conditions in first opinion small animal practice. Using eight of our sentinel practices, data were collected by direct observation of consultations, for two weeks in each practice. Feedback sessions were conducted with the practices to gain practitioners’ opinions on the results.

Key findings:

  • Consultations often involved the discussion of multiple problems, particularly when preventive medicine was the reason for presentation.
  • Definitive diagnoses were rarely reached during the consultation; however a wide range of actions, particularly involving therapeutic treatment or management advice, was frequently taken.
  • The results highlight the complexities of the first-opinion small animal consultations, and of the decisions made during these consultations.
  • The findings will be used as a starting point to direct future research by identifying commonly encountered scenarios in veterinary practice for which good quality evidence may be lacking.
Veterinary consultation

This work was carried out by Natalie Robinson, one of the CEVM’s first PhD students. Natalie's thesis is available via the University of Nottingham eTheses archive.

For further details follow the links to see poster presentations given at SVEPM 2011, SVEPM 2014ISVEE 2012 and Evidence Live 2013.


Contacts: Natalie Robinson, Rachel Dean, Marnie Brennan, Malcolm Cobb 

Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 951 6576
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 6415
Email: CEVM@nottingham.ac.uk