Laurie's Blogs.


Nov 2023

Bridging the Gap: The Vital Role of Non-Veterinarian Healthcare Professionals in Diagnosing Ailments in Dogs

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT, Cert. Sm. Anim. Acup / Dry Needling

A colleague of mine sent a patient back to the referring vet recently.  The dog was referred for a partial cruciate, but my colleague had concerns that there might also be a soft tissue sarcoma.  My initial reaction what, “Geez, I hope the vet takes this well.”  My next thought was, “Why should I have that FEAR?”  “Why should I not be confident that the referring veterinarians would be glad that another practitioner might have served as a ‘safety net’?


So, I decided that this topic was ‘blog-worthy’!  



In the intricate world of veterinary medicine, the collaboration between veterinarians and non-veterinarian healthcare professionals is proving to be a transformative force. Beyond the routine check-ups and specialized treatments provided by veterinarians, non-veterinarian professionals, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, and others, are emerging as diagnostic safety nets, adept at catching missed diagnoses and addressing misdiagnoses in our beloved animal companions.


Enhancing Mobility and Physical Function:

Physiotherapists and chiropractors, with their expertise in musculoskeletal health, play a pivotal role in identifying subtle signs of physical discomfort and mobility issues in animals. Their keen eye for gait abnormalities, joint restrictions, and muscle imbalances can uncover underlying health concerns that might have been overlooked during routine veterinary examinations. By addressing these issues promptly, non-veterinarian professionals contribute to the overall well-being of the animal and prevent potential misdiagnoses.


Holistic Approaches from Traditional Medicine:

Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) bring a holistic perspective to veterinary care. By examining patterns of disharmony in the body's energy flow, TCM practitioners can uncover imbalances that might not be immediately apparent through traditional veterinary diagnostics. This integrative approach can serve as a valuable complement to Western medicine, providing additional insights into a pet's health and aiding in the prevention of missed or misdiagnosed conditions.


Nutritional Guidance from Dietary Consultants:

Nutrition is a cornerstone of health, and dietitians/dietary consultants can play a significant role in identifying nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that may contribute to health issues in animals. Dietary specialists can help optimize dietary plans to address specific health concerns and ensure that pets receive the essential nutrients they need for overall well-being.


Team-Based Diagnostics and Integrated Care:

The synergy between veterinarians and non-veterinarian healthcare professionals creates a dynamic team-based approach to diagnostics and care. Regular communication and collaboration ensure that information from various perspectives is considered, reducing the risk of missed or misdiagnoses. This integrated care model offers a more comprehensive understanding of the animal's health, leading to more accurate and tailored treatment plans.



As veterinary medicine continues to evolve, the incorporation of non-veterinarian healthcare professionals into the diagnostic landscape is proving to be a game-changer. By embracing the diverse expertise these professionals bring, the industry is fostering a more comprehensive and integrated approach to animal healthcare.  As diagnostic safety nets, non-veterinarian experts contribute to the identification of missed diagnoses and the correction of misdiagnoses. Embracing this collaborative, multidisciplinary approach not only enhances the quality of care for animals but also fosters a holistic understanding of their health. Together, veterinarians and non-veterinarian professionals contribute to a new era of comprehensive veterinary diagnostics, ensuring that no aspect of an animal's well-being goes unnoticed.