Concurrence between clinical and pathologic diagnoses in a veterinary medical teaching hospital: 623 cases (1989 and 1999)

Michael S. Kent Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Michael D. Lucroy Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Gillian Dank Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
Present address: Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Hebrew University, Israel.

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Terry W. Lehenbauer Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Bruce R. Madewell Department of Veterinary Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether there was a decline in the percentage of dogs undergoing necropsies and whether there was substantial agreement or disagreement between clinical and pathologic diagnoses.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—623 dogs.

Procedure—Medical records of hospitalized dogs that died or were euthanatized and necropsied at a veterinary teaching hospital in 1989 and 1999 were reviewed. Clinical and pathologic diagnoses were recorded and compared.

Results—There was a significant decline in the necropsy rate of hospitalized dogs that died or were euthanatized in 1999, compared with 1989. In both 1989 and 1999, there was disagreement between the clinical and pathologic diagnoses in approximately a third of the cases.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite improved diagnostic methods, the accuracy of diagnosis did not improve significantly in 1999, compared with 1989. Necropsy is the best method to assess overall diagnostic accuracy. Increased availability of teaching funds may promote efforts to have necropsies performed in veterinary teaching hospitals. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:403–406)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether there was a decline in the percentage of dogs undergoing necropsies and whether there was substantial agreement or disagreement between clinical and pathologic diagnoses.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—623 dogs.

Procedure—Medical records of hospitalized dogs that died or were euthanatized and necropsied at a veterinary teaching hospital in 1989 and 1999 were reviewed. Clinical and pathologic diagnoses were recorded and compared.

Results—There was a significant decline in the necropsy rate of hospitalized dogs that died or were euthanatized in 1999, compared with 1989. In both 1989 and 1999, there was disagreement between the clinical and pathologic diagnoses in approximately a third of the cases.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite improved diagnostic methods, the accuracy of diagnosis did not improve significantly in 1999, compared with 1989. Necropsy is the best method to assess overall diagnostic accuracy. Increased availability of teaching funds may promote efforts to have necropsies performed in veterinary teaching hospitals. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:403–406)

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