Diagnostic Work

In addition to history and physical examination results, the minimum database for a patient with acute vomiting and/or diarrhea includes diagnostic imaging, a fresh fecal sample for analysis, and blood for packed cell volume (PCV) and total protein (TP). Values gleaned from rapid measurement of electrolytes (ie, K+, Na+, Cl-) can be helpful, as can other in-practice tests (eg, blood glucose, blood urea nitrogen [BUN]). Fecal analysis should go beyond simple flotation for parasites and include a gross examination for color, consistency, foreign material, mucus, and the presence or absence of blood (eg, melena, hematochezia). Other diagnostic testing should include:


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