Diagnostic Tests and Procedures
"Medicine" is an all-encompassing term that includes almost every aspect of veterinary medicine that is not surgery. It includes preventive medicine as well as diagnosing and treating disease or illness. Depending on the clinical signs or symptoms your pet is exhibiting, your veterinarian may recommend one or several tests. Depending on those test results, additional tests may need to be run.
Below are some of the more common diagnostic tests and procedures:
A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test used to assess the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. It detects anemia, infection and blood clotting problems.
A biochemical profile is a blood test to check for signs of liver disease, kidney disease and abnormalities in blood glucose and blood protein. More extensive profiles also assess the pancreas, cholesterol, calcium, phosphorus levels and electrolytes.
Urinalysis provides information about kidney function and checks for signs of urinary tract infection, inflammation, crystals or abnormal cells. The urine is also tested for glucose and ketones to assess for diabetes. The urinalysis is most useful when combined with a biochemical profile.
T4 and thyroid function tests are blood tests to check for thyroid disease.
Radiographs or x-rays are essentially pictures of your pet's bones and internal organs. A minimum of two views are taken but sometimes many more are required to help get a more complete picture of your pet. In some cases, sedation may be required.
Fecal examinations are used to detect internal parasites.
Specialized tests may be required depending on the results from other diagnostic tests. These may include: additional urine tests, bile acids to assess liver function, ECG to assess the heart, clotting factor tests, Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) tests, etc. Your veterinarian may also refer you to the Ottawa Veterinary Hospital for an ultrasound if required.
Cytology or Histology can be performed by sampling masses. A sample may be taken by inserting a needle into the lump (Fine Needle Aspirate) or may require a wedge of tissue surgically removed under general anesthesia. These samples are sent to an outside laboratory for a specialist to examine.
Allergy testing can be performed on a blood sample to identify what allergies your pet has. These results can then be used to make an allergy serum specifically designed for your pet.