How are biopsies done at your clinic?
Biopsies are often done as a surgical procedure in which a small piece of tissue is taken from a mass or organ and sent to a veterinary pathologist for analysis at the microscopic level, and diagnosis. These are usually done when a veterinarian is looking to determine if a mass is cancerous.
A blood test is used to assess your pet’s internal body systems. It is a quantitative set of data that gives a snapshot in time of how your pet is functioning. The most common blood tests performed at our clinic are a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry. CBC is looking at red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to look for an infection, anemia, and more. Chemistries are done to assesses organ function and evaluate electrolyte imbalances that may be causing illness.
Why are blood tests important for my pet’s health?
Blood tests are an important diagnostic tool for a variety of reasons. They can aid in determining a cause for your pet’s illness, be used to monitor your pet’s response to a medication or therapy, or to assess organ function to see if it is safe for your pet to go under general anesthesia. Blood work is also a great tool for health monitoring and finding early stages of disease.
How long does it take to get blood test results?
At our hospital, we have an in-house laboratory which gives us results within minutes. However, our lab is limited and some tests are sent to an outside laboratory, with results returned within a couple of business days.
How should I prepare my pet for their blood test?
Preparing your pet for a blood test can vary depending by pet, and their attitude when visiting the vet. It is suggested to fast them prior to their visit (no food for at least 4 hours) in case they need to be sedated to reduce stress, as some sedatives can induce vomiting. We aim to collect blood in a calm manner, should your pet become too stressed a doctor can further discuss methods to reduce stress and prepare for a planned blood test.
How often should blood tests be done?
On average, blood tests should be done once a year, when they come in for their annual wellness exam. This allows for a baseline set of values to compare changes to as your pet ages. This becomes increasingly important once your cat is over 8 years old as they are at an increased risk for diseases such as chronic kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. It is also important for senior dogs to monitor liver and kidney function. Depending on health status, and treatment plans, some pets may need bloodwork done more often.
What is a cytology?
A cytology is a test that is performed to help determine the cause to a skin, ear, or mass issue. It is done by taking a sample of the affected area, and having it analyzed under a microscope to look for bacteria, yeast, ear mites, specific cells and more. There are a couple of frequently used methods, such as swabs, skin scrapes, and impressions, these are done based on the presenting problem, and what is being looked for. For looking at masses, a fine needle aspirate may be done to collect the sample.
How long do results take?
Results may vary depending on if the analysis can be run in house, or needs to be sent out to another laboratory.
What about a culture and sensitivity?
These can also be a useful test to perform. They are often done if a current treatment plan is not working, and a more specific plan needs to be formed. It involves collecting a sample and analyzing it further.
Why should I have a urinalysis performed?
These are performed based on a veterinarian’s suggestion to further assess a presenting problem. This is often done when your pet is straining to urinate, or urinating inappropriately. They are important for identifying diseases that affect the urinary tract such as an infection, or systemic diseases such as diabetes.
How is this done?
A urine sample can be collected in-hospital, or by yourself at home. Once gathered, it is run by a technician in-house for a veterinarian to analyze, or sent out to a lab for further testing.
An x-ray is an important diagnostic tool used to visualize your pet’s skeletal structure as well as soft tissues. These images are used by your veterinarian to assess what is going on internally.
Why should I do x-rays?
A veterinarian may request an x-ray for a variety of reasons such as assessing for fractures, dislocation, or arthritis if they are limping. Further, they can use x-ray to examine the internal organs in the abdomen (liver, kidney, intestines) for size and shape when checking for masses, foreign objects, or obstructions. They may use an x-ray to check for stones in the bladder, kidney, or other areas of the urinary system. Finally, a chest x-ray may be taken to observe the shape and size of the heart as an indication for heart disease, or to check the lungs for things that may impact function like pneumonia.
Does the clinic do dental x-rays?
Yes, dental x-rays are typically performed by a technician during a dental procedure where you cat is anesthetized. These x-rays allow for the veterinarian to more accurately determine the extent of dental disease in your cats’ mouth so they may perform extractions, and give an effective treatment plan.
How should I prepare my dog for their x-ray?
If we are booking your pet in for radiographs ahead of time, we will inform you about any specific requirements. Sometimes, an empty stomach or having them go to the bathroom before helps us get a better view. Depending on which x-rays we need and how excited your pet is, we may require sedation for an accurate radiograph.