An Approach to Diagnostics: S.O.A.P.
When a veterinarian is presented with your pet he or she has a process that is followed to help determine a diagnosis. One of those processes, that many vets follow, is called SOAP. This is a way of looking at the “problem” that is being presented.
Subjective, Objective, Assessment and Plan
Subjective: This is the information gathering stage; what the client & doctor can see looking at your pet. Is your pet panting, lethargic, frantic or scratching? Is the hair coat shiny, dull, and flaky or is there alopecia? This is when you tell the veterinarian what you’ve been seeing lately that makes you believe something is wrong. Not eating, crying during urination, pacing, sleeping all day; these are all part of the subjective information.
Objective: This stage assists the veterinarian diagnostically in assessing your pet. Information gathered from diagnostics such as radiographs, blood work, even taking the temperature.
Assessment: This is where the veterinarian reads the results of the tests and other diagnostics so they can may rule out or confirm a diagnosis. He or she may find that more information is required as they have only come up with a differential diagnosis, meaning there are more than one possible diagnosis based on the information. This leads to the next step.
Plan: This is what the veterinarian is going to do about what they have diagnosed. Treatment plan, prognosis and if he or she came up with a differential diagnosis, what further tests may be needed to be done. Communication with the client is also a part of the plan.
This is just one way that a veterinarian approaches your pet’s heath issues. By no means is it the only way.