A sedative is any agent that calms nervousness, irritability, and excitement. The degree of relaxation produced depends on the type and amount of sedative medication used as well as the mental state of the patient. For example, it is sometimes necessary to give an increased dose or repeated doses of sedative to a patient that is already very nervous/ excited/ aggressive as compared to a calm and already relaxed patient. Sedation is commonly used to help patients be more compliant for taking radiographs( x-rays) or sometimes just to allow the doctor to perform an exam in a pet that is showing signs of aggression. A sedative is also used as a “pre-med”, which is given prior to anesthesia to lessen the amount of anesthetic needed for the procedure.

Skin scraping

The use of a dull blade to scrape the superficial layer of the skin in order to diagnose the presence of skin mites. There are 2 common types of skin mites which can cause dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) and may be referred to as “mange”. Sarcoptic mange (scabies) mites live on the surface of the skin, but may be very difficult to find on a skin scrape because it only takes a few mites to cause severe disease. Sarcoptic mange is easily spread between animals but can also be spread to people and causes intense irritation and itching. The other type of “mange” is caused by Demodex mites, which are actually normal inhabitant of the skin of dogs and cats but cause hairloss in pets whose immune system is compromised and in young dogs. The Demodex mites live in the hair follicle and cause clogging of the pores and loss of hair when they overgrow. Although this does cause mild inflammation to the hair follicle, the infection does not cause symptoms such as itching unless there is also a secondary skin infection. In the past, “mange” was treated by a series of medicated baths or “dips”, however, there were many side effects associated with this treatment and today oral or topical medications are more commonly used.