Laboratory services are a vital part of the diagnostic process when it comes to veterinarian care. This is because in many cases it is not possible to be able to give a firm diagnosis without undertaking additional tests to confirm the root of the problem.
What Types of Laboratory Tests Might My Pet Need?
There are a number of different types of testing that can be done on your pet in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Some of them are invasive, whilst others are non-invasive and just require a sample of bodily fluid from your pet.
Stool testing is a reliable method of detecting a variety of problems, most notably parasite infestations such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia. A stool sample is usually collected by the owner prior to the visit, and is then sent off to the laboratory for analysis.
Urine testing is important for the detection of urinary tract diseases in animals. Urine samples usually need to be tested as soon as possible after collection and if this is not possible, the sample may be refrigerated until it can be analyzed. Sometimes, a sterile sample collected via cystocentesis, is required. It is always best to check with your veterinarian to ensure a proper sample can be acquired. Once at the laboratory, a urine sample will typically be tested on color, chemistry and sediment. The presence of diseases or infections within the urine may change its clarity or color. Other urine tests include a chemical analysis which looks at the pH and density levels of the sample, plus taking measurements of the amount of protein, glucose, and fragmented blood cells. Any of these can indicate potential problems.
Just as with human illness, blood tests can be a vital tool in the diagnosis and monitoring of infection and disease, and they must only be carried out by a qualified veterinarian or veterinary nurse.
Analysis carried out on red blood cells can give your veterinarian information about the way your pet’s body is functioning and identify potential health problems. Analysis on white blood cells can find immune system reactions and disorders which could point to serious illnesses such as infections, leukemia, and cancer. Platelet counts can also be analyzed, and a decreased number of platelets could point to bone marrow problems, blood clotting disorders and some autoimmune diseases.
Off-Site Laboratory Testing
Whilst some urgent laboratory testing may be carried out on-site, most testing is sent to an outside laboratory for analysis by more specialized equipment. Many times, this is the most cost-effective and comprehensive option.
Examples of the types of services provided by these facilities include:
- Allergy Testing
Whatever testing your veterinarian recommends will be valuable in early detection, diagnosing, and successfully treating your pet.