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Laboratory Testing

Pre-Anesthetic Tests:

As in human medicine, the anesthetics available for our pets is extremely safe. As a result, the risk to a “healthy” pet under anesthesia is greatly minimized. However, if your pet is not healthy, complications can occur.

An animals instinct is to protect themselves, often times sick animals will “hide” their illness. Therefore, their appearance may be misleading. For example, a pet can loose 75% of kidney function prior to showing any signs of illness. Only blood tests would pick up this information.

  • Blood chemistry tests provide an inside look at your pets vital organs. By testing blood chemistries, we can evaluate the status of your pets major organs. The kidney and liver function are especially important, because these organs process and rid the body of medicationshutterstock_377524s used for anesthesia.
  • Hematology tests provide a look at the blood itself. Red Blood Cells (RBC) are responsible for carrying oxygen. White Blood Cells (WBC) are the body’s primary means of fighting infection. Platelets play an important role in clotting and are critical in helping the body stop bleeding. These tests can detect anemia, infection, and clotting disorders.
  • Electrolyte balance is crucial to maintaining life. Certain disease or conditions may result in electrolyte imbalances that could compromise a pets health.
  • Urine provides important information about the functioning capacity of the kidneys. This can be the first indication of decreased kidney function even before the blood tests revel kidney disease. Urine also contains by-products from many organs and abnormal levels of these products can indicate diseases, such as liver disease or diabetes.
  • ECG (Electrocardiogram) detects heart rate and rhythm. Certain abnormal rhythms can be deleterious to animals undergoing anesthesia.

Depending on the results of these tests, we may adjust the dose or type of anesthesia used, or we may advise delaying the surgery.

General Health Profiles:

General Health Profiles look at the functions of all the organs in the body. If abnormal levels are detected, further diagnostic work may be needed. The following tests are performed in each of our profiles.

  • Albumin
  • Alanine Aminotransferase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Amylase
  • BUN
  • Calcium
  • Cholesterol
  • Creatinine
  • Glucose
  • Phosphorus
  • Total Bilirubin
  • Total Protein
  • Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride
  • Hematology: Hematocrit, Complete Blood Count.

Hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism is a disease caused by insufficient levels or a body’s abnormal use of thyroid hormone. The condition rarely appears in pets under 2 years of age; middle or older pets are usually affected. Signs include: reduced stamina, increased sleeping, dry coat and skin, hair loss, slow hair growth, recurrent skin infections, and the appearance of dark pigmented skin. Hypothyroidism commonly occurs in dogs, but rarely in cats.

Important Points in Treatment:

  • Blood tests are necessary to diagnose the condition and monitor treatment.
  • Hypothyroidism is controlled rather than cured, and lifetime therapy is necessary.
  • Activity may increase after therapy has begun.
  • Medication must be given twice daily, EVERYDAY.

Testing:

  • Work Pictures 1280After medication has been administered for 4-6 weeks, we must check your pet for thyroid levels. Your pet may have a change in the amount of medication needing to be given, depending on the testresults.
  • Once your pet has established normal levels on the medication, we recommend testing yearly.
  • Thyroid levels are tested 4-6 hours post pill.

Hyperthyroidism:

Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by increased levels or a body’s abnormal use of thyroid hormone. The condition rarely appears in pets under 2 years of age; middle or older pets are usually affected. Hyperthyroidism is common in cats, and extremely uncommon in dogs. Symptoms in cats include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and increased water intake.

Important Points in Treatment:

  • Blood tests are necessary to diagnose the condition and monitor treatment.
  • Hyperthyroidism can be controlled with medication, surgery can be performed to remove the thyroid gland, or radioiodine treatment may be administered at specialty practices.