Veterinary diagnostic testing and radiology
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Why do we run diagnostic tests?
Regular diagnostic screenings are the best way to ensure your pet’s long-term health. We recommend annual testing as part of your pet’s wellness exam so we can catch issues before they become more serious. Diagnostic tests also help us diagnose and treat your pet properly when they’re sick.
Does my pet still need regular testing if they’re healthy?
Yes. We strongly recommend annual bloodwork, fecal testing, tick-borne disease, and heartworm testing as part of your pet’s annual wellness exams. This helps us catch issues before they become more serious, and diagnose and treat your pet properly when they’re sick.
Which diagnostic tests do you offer?
We run all the routine diagnostic tests your pet needs, including bloodwork, urinalysis, fecal testing, parasite tests, cytology, x-ray, and ultrasound. Diagnostic tests help us catch issues before they become more serious, and help diagnose and treat your pet properly when they’re sick:
- Bloodwork: Blood tests often take the form of a complete blood count (CBC), which measures the number of red and white blood cells and platelets, or a blood chemistry panel, which tests organ function. CBCs can detect infections, anemia, dehydration, blood disorders, and the immune system response. Blood chemistries show if enzymes, electrolytes, minerals, and hormone levels are too low or too high, which can tell us if there’s a problem in the way organs are functioning. Bloodwork is also important to determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
- Fecal testing: Fecal testing is typically used to determine whether your pet is suffering from internal parasites, like worms or giardia. Even if your pet isn’t showing symptoms, it’s important to treat them right away. This prevents parasites from affecting their long-term health, and stops transmission to any other pets or family members.
- Urinalysis: Urine samples help us diagnose conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney or bladder diseases, diabetes, and others.
- Tick-borne and heartworm testing: We recommend annual tick-borne and heartworm testing in addition to monthly preventatives. Tick-borne diseases and heartworm are serious conditions and may not show symptoms for months after infection, so it’s important to test early and often.
- Cytology: Cytology is the microscopic analysis of cells. By examining cellular debris, we’re able to diagnose issues such as ear or skin infections. Cytology may also involve a biopsy (removing a very small part of a lump/mass) to look for cancerous cells. A form of cytology, called pathology, looks at biopsies.
- X-rays: X-rays use a low, safe dose of radiation to take a snapshot of your pet’s insides. Depending on the location of the x-ray and whether your pet is able to lay still, they may or may not need anesthesia.
- Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds also allow us to see inside a pet’s body. This test uses a beam of high-frequency sound waves (ultrasonic waves) to create a picture from the reflections of these waves. Ultrasounds are particularly useful for examining internal organs in real-time. They don’t use any radiation and your pet shouldn’t require anesthesia, but they may need a small amount of fur shaved to ensure a clear picture and diagnosis.
Can I stay with my pet during diagnostic testing?
You’ll be able to stay with your pet for bloodwork, urine, and fecal testing, though we’ll likely ask you to bring a urine or fecal sample from home. If we need to collect a urine sample via ultrasound-guided cystocentesis (directly from your pet’s bladder) we'll take your pet to the back of clinic where pet owners aren't allowed. You’ll also need to wait outside the treatment rooms for x-rays and ultrasounds. Rest assured, these are all quick and simple procedures and your pet’s in the best hands!
Does my pet need to undergo anesthesia for testing?
Anesthesia is rarely required for x-rays. If your pet is extremely anxious, we may provide them with anti-anxiety medication or a light sedative to help them relax during the procedure.
Do dogs and cats get the same kind of tests?
For the most part, yes! Most of the tests are the same, while some tests check for dog-or cat-specific diseases.