Why Diagnostic Exams Matter
We love our animals and want them to live long, healthy lives. Regular exams can help us identify some conditions, but some diseases are silent in their early stages. Your pet may appear well and have no obvious symptoms, but may still be sick. Diagnostic tests help us better understand all aspects of your pet’s health, allowing us to identify clinical signs of disease before symptoms appear.
Why Would Your Pet Need Diagnostics?
There are several situations that routinely require the use of diagnostic testing. All such testing is done with your pet’s health at top priority.
- 6-month Wellness Exams: If your vet suggests diagnostic blood work during your pet’s semiannual exam, don’t panic. Blood tests, urinalysis, and other tests can reveal conditions that may elude physical examination.
- Your Animal Seems “Off”: You know your pet better than anyone, and you’re the first to know when they seem out of sorts. Diagnostic tests can help our team rule out potential causes while targeting a precise diagnosis.
- Prior to Surgery: Surgery puts added stress on the body, and the anesthetics and other agents used during the procedure can be harsh for animals already in poor health. Our team may perform diagnostic tests to ensure that your pet is fit for surgery.
- Establishing a Baseline: For young animals or first-time patients, we may perform some basic blood tests to obtain baseline values. The information we gain from these tests can help us better treat your pet in the future.
- Before New Meds: Starting a new medication or adding a new med to an existing regimen can have unforeseen effects. Diagnostic tests provide a reference value and assist in monitoring.
- Senior Pets: Blood tests are usually recommended for mature, senior, and geriatric animals as part of their periodic wellness exams. Blood tests can often identify easily treated underlying diseases that may be affecting your pet’s energy level or appetite.
Understanding the Most Common Tests
Each test we perform gives us valuable information essential to your pet’s care.
- By testing a sample of your pet’s urine, we can learn a great deal about your animal’s overall hydration status, as well as spot potential signs of kidney disease, bladder disease, diabetes, infection, and other conditions.
- You may be asked to bring a stool sample from your pet. Fecal samples are examined for color and consistency, as well as for the presence of blood or mucus.
- Our team will also test the sample microscopically for the presence of parasites, protozoa, or fungi.
- We’ll assess your pet’s blood for critical features such as white-cell count (which can help spot potential infection) and hemoglobin levels (to gauge blood oxygen levels).
- We assess your pet’s internal organs, proteins, and electrolytes.
- Our team will collect samples of your animal’s earwax to test for potential infection.
- We may also perform a needle or core biopsy to evaluate a lump or mass.
- Our noninvasive radiography equipment is onsite, allowing us to perform diagnostic x-rays quickly and easily, while minimizing your pet’s discomfort.
- Sometimes it’s necessary to get a clearer view of an organ or bodily structure before beginning a new intervention. Ultrasound testing allows our team to visualize these hard-to–see areas.
- Ultrasound for animals is much like that for people. For pets, however, we may have to shave a patch of fur to help improve contact.
- Echocardiography uses sound to help us understand your pet’s heart function. The test is painless and takes only a few minutes.
- Your pet will be attached to an EKG/ECG machine and the readout will be evaluated by a board certified cardiologist.
We choose our lab tests carefully, electing to use only those tests that yield the most valuable diagnostic data. If you have questions about a specific test, ask our staff. They’ll be happy to address your concerns.