Head to Tail Health Check - Mentation and Demeanour
I totally forgot about this and its one of the first things you should do before you even approach the animal.
Mentation and Demeanour are important factors to consider as they can hint to how an animal is feeling I.e. if they are in pain, uncomfortable, scared.
Mentation – This is the level of consciousness the animal has at the time of the health check.
Demeanour – This is how the animal is presenting itself to you during its health check.
An animal’s mentation can firstly be assessed by calling the animals name from a distance and seeing it jumps up and comes running towards you or if it just sits there or if it even responses to you at all. If you get no response walk closer doing the same thing, repeat this until you get a response. Once you have reached the animal and you still have had no response, stroking it and stimulating it can also be done to see if the animal is just too weak to respond to you or if it is unconscious.
Mentation can also be assessed by doing a neurological exam and testing the Pupillary Light Reflex and the animal’s reaction times. But I have never seen a Veterinary Nurse do these.
Once you have established an animal’s mentation and you can note their demeanour, are they bright and active, sad and depressed, or aggressive and fearful.
NEVER APPROACH An AGGRESSIVE DOG BY YOURSELF! ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE ELSE WITH YOU AND A MUZZLE AND SLIP READY FOR RESTRAINT IF NEEDED.
Common abbreviations used when describing mentation and demeanour:
BAR – Bright, Alert and Responsive (Responsive to external stimuli and not acting ill)
QAR – Quiet, Alert and Responsive (Not as active but responsive) —