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 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 a 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 and tapeworms. A stool sample is usually collected by the owner proper to the visit to the veterinary surgery, and this is then passed to the laboratory for analysis under the microscope.
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. 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, leukaemia and cancer. Platelet counts can also be analysed, and a decreased number of platelets could point to bone marrow problems, blood clotting disorders and some autoimmune diseases.
Whilst some laboratory testing may be able to be carried out on-site at your veterinary surgery, some testing requires much more specialized equipment or specific training. In these instances your pet’s samples may be sent to an outside testing facility.
Examples of the types of services provided by these facilities
Whatever testing your veterinarian recommends will be valuable in diagnosing and successfully treating your pet. However, if you have any questions or concerns your vet will be happy to speak to you.