Effective, Timely Diagnostics for Pets
Accurate and timely veterinary diagnostics play an important role in both maintaining your pet’s good health and treating any illness. Whether blood tests to evaluate your cat for a suspected thyroid disorder or X-rays to examine your dog for possible foreign body ingestion, these tools provide an inside look at your pet’s health.
In cases of illness, understanding the nature of the pet’s health problem speeds treatment. Medical histories and physical examinations don’t always tell the whole story; laboratory tests and imaging technologies are often needed to further define the problem.
Pound Ridge Veterinary Center relies on up-to-date in-house lab equipment, radiology and imaging technology, and respected reference laboratories to discover the source of the problem.
Blood Tests Gauge Pet Health
Simple physical examinations may only begin to detect developing problems. For that reason, as part of a routine wellness visit at Pound Ridge, blood work is recommended for our older pets, aged seven years and up.
Testing for older dog and cat patients should consist of a complete blood count and chemistry panel, and cats should also have thyroid tests performed. Results serve to detect problems early and establish a healthy baseline, should your pet become ill in the future.
Blood Tests for Older Pets
The complete blood count (CBC) tests for anemia, infection, inflammation, and measures some of the blood clotting components.
The blood chemistry panel is made up of many different tests, mostly to assess the function of the major body organs:
- Kidney/BUN, creatinine, phosphorus—These tests check kidney function and are useful in detecting long-term or acute kidney disease. Early detection of kidney disease is essential for long-term management. While loss of kidney function cannot be cured, degeneration can be slowed down with changes to diet, medication, and proper monitoring.
- Liver/AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, albumin—These tests help assess the function of the liver and gall bladder. Liver degeneration, infection, inflammation, and neoplasia may be detected by these tests, although further testing may be necessary to define specific problems. Contrary to popular belief, liver disease is treatable, although recovery can sometimes be prolonged.
- Pancreas/glucose, amylase, lipase—These tests monitor pancreatic function and can help in the diagnosis of diseases such as diabetes mellitus.
Electrolytes testing for sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and phosphorus is useful in monitoring dehydration, bone metabolism, and general body health.
Thyroid tests are used to determine thyroid gland function. Since the thyroid gland helps regulate almost all body metabolic functions, an underactive or overactive thyroid gland has serious repercussions. Thyroid disease can be managed with medication, radioiodine therapy, or surgical procedures.
Urinalysis provides more insight into abnormal kidney function, a common issue in older cats. Urine testing provides clues to the presence of diabetes, a treatable and common illness.
Laboratory diagnostic tests provide us with a wealth of information. Test results are usually available the next day. We call pet owners to discuss test results, share good news, or recommend further monitoring and treatment as needed.
For patients with emergent clinical signs, this diagnostic information can be available on site, so that faster and more effective treatment can be delivered.
To learn more about our diagnostic capabilities, contact our hospital.