Submit a Clinical Query

Don't have time to write a Knowledge Summary but want to help add to the evidence-base? Then submit a clinical query to Veterinary Evidence.

Creating an Answerable Question

You may have encountered a scenario in practice where you are unsure of the evidence. An example might be where a client says they have heard that neutering bitches reduces the risk of mammary tumours and asks you if there is any evidence to back up this claim. In order to find the evidence surrounding this claim and make it easier for your clinical query to be answered, we need to first turn it into an answerable question.

We do so by using the PICO method:

P - Patient or Population

I - Intervention(s)

C - Comparison

O - Outcome

Example 1

Using the above scenario an example PICO framework would be:

Patient or Population adult bitches
Intervention neutering
Comparison non-neutering
Outcome mammary tumours

Therefore, our answerable question is:

In adult bitches does neutering versus non-neutering reduce the risk of mammary tumours?

PICO questions need to be specific and focused. A well-formed question will help ensure all of the relevant articles are found and will reduce the chance of leaving anything important out. It will also make it relatively straightforward to identify appropriate search terms and to combine them in the search strategy.

Example 2

Patient or Population Cats
Intervention Chlorhexidine and alcohol
Comparison Alcohol alone
Outcome Greater antimicrobial action

Answerable question: In cats undergoing catheter placement does the use of chlorhexidine and alcohol have greater antimicrobial action than alcohol alone?

Reference: EBVM Toolkit 1: Asking an answerable clinical question