Our in-house laboratory facilities allow us to quickly provide our patients with accurate diagnostic bloodwork when necessary. We utilize a full range of modern equipment to perform blood CBC, Chemistry, Glucose Curves, Coagulation profiles, Urinalysis, fecal exams, Heartworm tests and Ear Cytologies. We perform our Pre-Anesthetic Panels (required for surgeries and dental procedures) in-house as well, for fast results. Additionally, we have relationships with several outside veterinary laboratories for more specialized and routine testing.
Great! But what are all those tests?
CBC: Blood work is a very important diagnostic tool that provides a significant amount of information about your pet’s health. A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test used to measure and evaluate cells that circulate in the blood. The test includes an actual counting of red and white blood cells as well as an analysis of cells viewed on a blood smear. A CBC may be useful as a screening test for underlying infection, anemia and illness. Sometimes, the CBC can help determine the underlying cause of an anemia or infection. Drugs that affect the bone marrow change the CBC. Certain types of cancers, especially leukemia, may be evident on a blood smear. Blood parasites and some microorganisms are found by careful inspection of the blood cells during the CBC. In some cases, the results of the CBC will prompt your veterinarian to recommend other diagnostic tests.
Chemistry: The blood chemistry allows us to take a better "look" at kidney and liver health as well as screen for other abnormalities that may indicate endocrine disease. We are also able to check blood protein levels, which, if not normal, may indicate disease of the GI system, liverm or even an infection or cancer. In some cases, the results of the chemistry will prompt your veterinarian to recommened other diagnostic tests.
Glucose Curves: The glucose curve is an ideal tool for determining insulin effectiveness in diabetic pets. After your pet has his or her normal breakfast and insulin dose, we will test their blood glucose at 2- to 4-hour intervals throughout the day. This will show us how long the glucose levels are being maintained, and if any change in insulin dose is needed.
Coagulation Profiles: This allows us to detect certain clotting disorders that may warn us that other procedures such as liver biopsies or surgery may not be safe to perform.
Urinalysis (U/A): The results or a urinalysis are useful in a variety of situations not limited to those directly involving the urinary tract. Routine urinalysis is an essential part of the diagnostic evaluation of sick patients and the results should be interpreted along with the results of a chemistry panel. Ideally urine should always be collected at the same time as blood for hematology and clinical chemistry AND before any treatment (including intravenous fluids) is administered. Urinalysis not only detects urinary tract infections and crystals, but will also give us an idea of overall kidney health. Early kidney disease can sometimes be detected on the urinalysis even before it is evident in the bloodwork.
Fecal Cytology: Cytology is one of the most frequently implemented diagnostics used for evaluation of the gastrointestinal system. Fecal samples are set onto glass slides and examined under a microscope, then are stained with special chemicals so the organisms will show up, and then examined again under the microscope. Many of the cells noted on microscopic examination originate from the oral mucosa, larynx, esophagus, stomach, and the respiratory tract.
Fecal Float: A fecal flotation test, otherwise known as a "fecal float," egg flotation or Fecalyzer Test (Fecalyzer, also spelled Fecalyser, being the most commonly used in-house commercial product) is a diagnostic test performed to diagnose parasitism in animals. Organisms that can be detected include: nematodes (e.g. round worms, hook worms, whip worms); cestodes (tapeworms) and trematodes (flukes and flatworms), that live and feed within the intestines of dogs and cats and other animals.
Heartworm Tests: We use an antigen-testing heartworm test, which gives us results within eight minutes. We will obtain a blood sample from your dog for this test. Even if your dog is on heartworm prevention year-round, we recommend yearly testing to be sure the medication is doing its job, and because early detection of disease is key to successful treatment.
Ear Cytology: An ear cytology is a laboratory procedure that allows us to microscopically see what is "growing" in a patient’s ear. Although we will do a comprehensive physical examination and look into your pet’s ears with an otoscope we can only see so much. Bacteria and yeast are too small to see with the naked eye and come in many types (species). Once we take a swab of the ear, we will roll the debris-laden swab onto a microscope slide, fix and stain the slide and then look under the microscope for microbe identification. Without this test, we are just guessing about which medications to use and there are dozens of medications to choose from. Clearly, successful treatment of ear disease can be expedited if we know exactly what we are treating and with which medications.