The Four Ps may quickly summarize what you need to observe, record, and report:
• Be observant. Remember, all symptoms are significant.
• Either keep a daily log at home or report in by phone or e-mail at least once a week during the active phase of treatment (when remedies are given more frequently) or if there is any change.
• Include when the last dose of remedy was given at the beginning of your report.
• Always report the immediate response (first few hours and days) to a dose of remedy.
• Any change of pattern is especially significant. For example, if after a dose your pet starts seeking warm/cool areas, eating more/less, sleeping better/worse or in new spots, etc. These changes are very important even if they don’t seem to be related to the primary problem. Report anything that’s different from normal.
• Changes in overall demeanor/mood, energy, interactivity, playfulness, willingness to go for walks, etc. should always be first in your report because these are the most important aspect of your pets’ daily life.
• Behavior changes, fears and anxieties are very important.
• If a symptom has changed after a dose, please detail when and how it changed and whether it is now better or worse than before the dose.
• If you are giving any medications, please include current doses in your update.
• In your initial symptom summary please include:
MENTAL & EMOTIONAL. Describe all mental and emotional conditions and changes such as likes and dislikes, desires, fears, timidity, apathy, irritability, aggression, changeable mood, whether easily startled or starting from sleep, or from noise or being touched, whether better or worse from diversion (e.g. seems better from a ride in a car), reaction to contradiction (e.g. what happens when you try to stop an objectionable behavior), better or worse in company, especially quiet or “talkative”, interaction with others of the same species vs. interaction with people, etc.
In general what are the effects of heat, cold, bathing, lying down, walking around, first getting up? Unusually tired or excited by company or being left alone? Wanting to be held/clingy vs. wanting to be left alone, looking for dark, quiet spots.
ACCOMPANYING SYMPTOMS. Are there any conditions that seem to come on with the main problem? For example are there loose bowels whenever the scratching gets worse? Is there seeking of quiet warm spots when the discharge worsens, etc.?
TIME/ENVIRONMENT. Does the problem come on at a specific time, season, phase of the moon, temperature/barometric pressure etc., e.g the stiffness is worse when it is humid. Write the time of day, night, month or season that the symptoms are better or worse. Are symptoms better or worse before or after eating, sleeping, moving, resting, when occupied? Anything that makes the symptoms better or worse is very important.
WEATHER. How is your pet affected by different kinds of weather, by cold, heat, storms, thunder, snow, being at the seashore, etc.?
APPETITE. How is the appetite? Excessive, picky, anything special that is desired or disliked, e.g. specific foods that are salty, sweet, fatty, sour, spicy, eggs, ice cubes. What about indigestibles like dirt, rocks, sand, stool, pencils, etc. What about thirst? Is there thirst for large quantities at one time, small frequent quantities, little thirst. Preference for cool fresh vs. room temperature or warm water? Preference for water out of the tap or hose or toilet? Any sloppy drinking (does the water go all over the place after a drink?).
SYMPTOM BEHAVIOR. Do the symptoms remain the same or do they change character or shift from place to place?
EXTERNAL SYMPTOMS. For external conditions of the skin, coat, nails, etc. please tell the exact location, color of lesions, whether dry or moist, thick or thin, scaly, pimply, presence of warts or growths, appearance of skin overall, is it itchy and is it better from scratching or does that seem to make it itch more? Does heat, cold, exercise, wearing a collar, etc., make it better or worse?
DISCHARGES. Describe any discharges (nose, eyes, vaginal, penile, etc.). Is it scant or copious, thick or thin, sticky, what color, any odor, causing irritation to the tissues, color of the stain and what makes it better or worse.
URINARY. Any urinary discomfort, straining before or after urinating, licking of penis/vagina before or after urinating, any odor to the urine, color, how frequent is the need for urination and is it urgent, any accidents or incontinence in the house?
BOWEL. Bowel condition: color, odor, hard, dry, large, pasty, bloody, frothy, slimy, thin, watery, slender, flat, etc. How often, at what times is it worse or better, or how is it affected by certain circumstances; is it difficult, incomplete (passes a little then keeps trying), urging without results or stool slips back in. Are loose bowels of a watery, pudding, or semi-formed (come out in a shape but when cleaned up there is some left on the ground) consistency? Does diarrhea come shooting out like water, is there a gurgling or popping noise along with the stool?
REPRODUCTIVE. If your pet is an intact female; how old was she when she first came into heat, how far apart are the cycles, are there any behavior changes or physical symptoms that accompany heat, what is the vaginal discharge before during and after the heat cycle look and smell like? Has she ever been pregnant? Did she breed and conceive easily? How did she carry, any problems delivering? Did she have plenty of milk, any problems associated with nursing?
SEXUAL ISSUES. Any male or female sexual issues? Trouble breeding, masturbation, excessive mounting behavior, penile or vaginal discharges related or unrelated to heat?
PECULIAR TRAITS. Any trait or habit that is different in this individual compared to others that you have known is especially significant.