What Tests Are Done in Veterinary Laboratories?
Veterinary laboratories are equipped with the tools and technicians needed to perform a range of important tests that provide your veterinarian with crucial information about the health and condition of your pet.
Here’s what you need to know about some of the tests that could be performed if samples from your pet are sent off to a veterinary laboratory.
Unsurprisingly, blood is one of the most frequently tested samples that is sent away to veterinary laboratories. This is because your pet’s blood can tell your vet a great deal about their overall health, as well as any specific health problems that they may have. Blood testing is usually divided into several elements:
Complete blood count (CBC): This analyzes the number and appearance of the blood cells and is crucial for the diagnosis and monitoring of disease and infection. This test will look at red blood cells, white blood cells, and the number of platelets (which are responsible for blood clotting).
Blood chemistry testing: This looks at the different chemicals present in your pet’s blood, such as glucose levels, sodium levels, and proteins, and these can tell your vet how well your pet’s different body systems are functioning.
In some instances, vets will request very specific blood tests to be performed, such as those to check your pet’s metabolic rate, liver function, or thyroid. These specific tests are usually required if your pet is presenting with symptoms of a condition and will be used to confirm it.
If you are asked for a sample of your pet’s poop, this will also be sent to the laboratory for testing. The technician will prepare the sample before assessing it under a microscope where it can be used to detect internal parasites such as tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms.
Urine analysis is needed to detect the various types of urinary tract disease which can affect our animals. If your pet is presenting with symptoms that suggest that they could have a problem with their kidneys, bladder, or any other part of the urinary system, a urine specimen may be requested. The lab technician will perform a series of tests looking at the appearance, chemistry, and sediment, and which can be used to detect problems like diabetes, bleeding in the urinary tract, and kidney disease.
Biopsies are one of the most common diagnostic procedures performed in dogs and cats. Their purpose is to provide insight into the types of cells that are present in an area of the body that seems abnormal – for example an area of unusually raised skin, or a lump or bump. A small sample of the abnormal area is taken from your pet, usually using a local or general anesthetic, and then sent away to the lab for analysis. The lab technician will then try to determine the nature of the cells and their relationship to one another. This will help them to identify the issue that is affecting your pet and what treatment will be most effective.
If you have questions about testing performed in veterinary laboratories, our team would be happy to help. Please contact our experienced team at Rocky Ridge Animal Clinic by calling 205.267.1300 today.