Our hospital is equipped with a complete diagnostic laboratory that allows us to measure several laboratory values, with results often available in a few minutes. Any tests that cannot be performed at our hospital is sent out to one of several independent veterinary diagnostic laboratories throughout the country.
By performing some basic blood tests, our veterinarians can gather important information concerning the health and well-being of your pet. Two of the most common blood tests performed are the complete blood count (CBC) and the blood chemistry panel.
The complete blood count consists of several tests that evaluate the number and type of blood cells in the circulation. The blood chemistry panel surveys many of the organ systems of the body (including the liver, kidneys and urinary system) and provides information on how these vital systems are functioning.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
CBC measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a sample of blood. The numbers of each type of cell provides information to help diagnose anemia, infections and leukemia. If your pet is undergoing treatment for an illness, a complete blood count can help us monitor how your pet is responding to the treatment.
Blood Chemistry Panel
While most of our blood chemistry panels are sent to a diagnostic laboratory, we have the capability to perform them at our hospital if we need the results sooner.
A blood chemistry panel measures electrolytes, enzymes, and chemical elements of your pet’s blood. The “Chem Panel” shows us important components such as the body’s calcium, creatinine, blood glucose, bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen, potassium, cholesterol and triglycerides. These measurements help us determine how your pet’s organs – including the kidneys, pancreas, and liver – are functioning. Blood chemistry panels help diagnose and treat illness, as well as monitor your pet’s response to treatment. A blood chemistry panel is strongly recommended to screen for potential problems and risks before anesthesia is administered to your pet – just as your personal physician would require for you!
Laboratory testing of your pet’s urine can help detect the presence of specific substances that normally do not appear in urine, including protein, sugar, white blood cells or blood. Measuring the dilution or concentration of urine can also help us diagnose illness. Urinalysis can be helpful in diagnosing urinary tract infections, diabetes, dehydration, kidney problems and other medical conditions.
There are various reasons why we need to do a fecal examination. Fecal examinations will allow us to look under the microscope for diseases, including difficulties in digestion, internal bleeding and pancreas disorders.
Most importantly, fecal examinations allow us to detect the presence of intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and giardia. Even a healthy-looking pet can be harboring worms! Most of these parasites are invisible to the naked eye. This is why we have to look for their eggs or “cysts” under a microscope. Parasite eggs are not shed continuously; therefore, a fecal sample in which no eggs or cysts are seen does not 100% rule out the existence of parasites. If parasites are still suspected, we may need to test again in a few weeks time. A stool sample should also be submitted annually as a part of the well-pet exam. The fecal analysis is performed at an independent veterinary laboratory, and we usually receive your pet’s results within 24 hours.