My nausea, vertigo, and other symptoms got me thinking. If I didn’t have the ability to speak, as veterinary patients do not, how would the doctor learn about my symptoms? Do our pets experience motion sickness, vertigo, headaches, and dizziness? There is evidence that they experience headaches, but our knowledge doesn’t extend beyond that. (At least not that I have learned this far).
Other than a slight hypertension, I had no observed clinical symptoms. I didn’t have nystagmus (rapid eye movements) or any proprioceptive (limbs in space) deficits. I would have passed any basic neurology examination. I rarely vomit, no matter how nauseous I am. I wonder how many of our patients arrive to the clinic with motion sickness that goes undetected. Animals experiencing nausea are known to have hypersalivation (drooling) and lip-licking. However, do they hypersalivate all the time, or only after a certain threshold? We can’t ask them how they are feeling. Feeling “off” is hard enough for us to describe to the doctor, let alone for a client to notice in a pet and then explain to us.
For those who read my posts often, you’ll know I do not plan to pursue a career in private practice. I won’t make curing kitty nausea my lifelong goal, but it does interest me. One exciting thing about this profession is that it’s always moving forward. Perhaps eight years from now, I’ll read an article in JAVMA (Journal of the AVMA) about diagnosing motion sickness in animal patients.