Many disease conditions require laboratory investigations to either learn more about the function of a pets major organs including the blood, or to find out how serious a threat to health a growth could be e.g. is a lump benign (relatively friendly) or malignant (usually nasty).
The value of blood tests can be they indicate all the major organs and the blood parameters are normal (this would generally mean the illness is minor and would hopefully resolve with minimal therapy). In other cases, however, these tests when combined with the findings of a thorough clinical examination, allow the vet to be more confident with their final diagnosis.
For example: a case of a vomiting dog may be simply a mild gut upset from eating the wrong food, or it could involve a malfunction in a major organ like the liver, pancreas or the kidneys. If our veterinary examination reveals only a mild change to clinical signs, we would try 24 hours off food with water available, then a bland diet. Some unwell pets recover. Other more seriously affected pets have significant signs of ill health on examination or do not respond to fasting and continue to vomit. These need blood tests to help locate the organs/s affected. Then we can treat the specific condition. Without that information some diseases advance and make full recovery more difficult. So laboratory blood tests can more quickly determine the cause of some diseases. The appropriate treatment can be given earlier, generally with better results.
Cytology is used to determine whether skin and other soft tissue lumps are potentially harmful to your pets' health. These can be performed in house but are also referred to animal pathology labs for expert diagnosis.
Any pet owner who has experienced the frustration of recurrent ear infections knows how elusive successful treatment can be. All infected ears require microscopic examination of specially stained smears. An accurate diagnosis and appropriate therapy, produce successful outcomes in ear problems. These are conducted in house.
For a complete cardiac workup, a combination of ultrasound, radiography, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and Doppler blood pressure studies can be performed. The prognosis can be more accurately gauged by using all or a combination of the aforementioned tools.
An Electocardiogram is used to detect and diagnose heart arrhythmias
When a normal heart beats, it produces electric signals to carry the message to each muscle surrounding the chambers of the heart. It sends a message to make each part of the heart contract at the right time. This co-ordinated regular movement with the help of the heart valves, directs the blood flow around the body. When this system works well, your pet exercises well and doesn't get fluid building up. However if dilating or stretching of the heart occurs, then the timing can be affected. Common symptoms are fainting or seizures, coughing from fluid build up on the lungs, or poor exercise tolerance (quickly tiring when running).
The ECG machine gives information about the flow of electric current through the various parts of the heart. By closely measuring changes in this electrical pattern, a better understanding of the changes affecting the heart can lead to better therapy for each specific heart problem.
Nunook quietly watches as Lynn takes his blood pressure. Only when you have a relaxed patient can the doppler measurement be accurate.
Did you know some pets (dogs and cats) suffer from high blood pressure like we do? In some cases this can lead to heart or kidney failure as pets get older. Medication for blood pressure can lengthen the lives of those pets which suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure).
Doppler ultrasound blood pressure measurement is a useful tool in monitoring the response to blood pressure medication. After inititally establishing an effective dose, every 3 months or so we should recheck the blood pressure to make sure the medication is still effective.