In House Laboratory
Our laboratory allows us to perform most tests for your pet in house. Within minutes, we are able to provide you with a look into the health of your pet.
For senior pets (8 years or older), we recommend checking routine lab work at least once a year. For younger pets, it's best to do blood at least once so that we know what is normal for them (this is very handy to know when your pet gets sick so we can determine what is a problem and what is normal).
Chemistry analyzers: These analyzers evaluate chemistry panels, pre-anesthetic panel, and thyroid hormone analysis.
- A chemistry panel is an in-depth test that lets us know how the major organ systems are working. It also allows us to determine other important values in your pet's blood work such as electrolyte balance and blood glucose.
- A pre-anesthetic panel is a shortened version of a chemistry panel that is usually used for young, healthy pets. It tells us how the major organs systems are working but doesn't provide as much detail such as electrolytes.
- A thyroid hormone analysis allows us to determine the amount of thyroid hormone your pet has. This is the first step in diagnosing thyroid hormone disease and is used for monitoring the treatment. Older dogs can develop a deficiency in the thyroid hormone while older cats tend to have an overactive thyroid. Since the thyroid is reponsible for many things in the body, it is important to keep it regulated. An abnormal thyroid level, when left untreated, will have serious consequences.
Microscope: Using the microscope, we are able to evaluate cells and look for signs of infections and parasites.
- Skin scrapings are used to look for common parasites such as demodex or sarcoptic mange.
- Tape preparations of the skin involve using tape to look at what is on the surface of the skin. We can see if bacteria or yeast is causing problems.
- Ear swabs are critical to determine if an infection is present. We can see bacteria, yeast and ear mites. Occasionally, there is a different type of infection in each ear. We can also tell if the ear is just inflamed and not infected. When an infection is present, it's important to know what is causing it so that the correct medicine can be given.
- Rectal swabs are used to help determine the cause of diarrhea in many cases. Since there are naturally bacteria in the rectum, a swab allows us to determine if the natural balance of bacteria has been altered. Specific bacteria called Clostridium, which can be seen on a rectal swab, also cause some diarrheas.
- Cytology (the examination of cells) can be done with some lumps or other skin lesions. We can also analyze fluid if it is present in the chest cavity or abdomen.
Other In-House tests: We test dogs for heartworms and cats for Feline Leukemia and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). We send all stool tests (other than swabs) to an outside lab as the results are superior to what we could do in the clinic.
For more extensive laboratory work, the doctor will send samples to our outside lab. Most results are reported within 24-48 hours.