Imaging can help our veterinarians evaluate musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and urinary systems. We offer both digital radiography as well as non-invasive ultrasound imaging to painlessly examine internal structures that would otherwise be impossible to evaluate. We also contract with a local radiology group for consultation on radiographs and support with complicated studies to provide your pet with the best diagnostic capability.
Radiology – or X-rays – help our veterinarians evaluate muscular-skeletal, cardiovascular (cardiopulmonary), gastrointestinal, reproductive and urinary systems. We have recently added digital x-ray to our practice. This allows us to have higher quality images and much more rapidly. It also affords us the ability to send images to our local radiologist for 2nd opinions with the click of a button.
For all ultrasound services we refer to SAGE.
In-House Diagnostics – Assessing Your Pet’s Needs Fast
When your pet is sick, you want to find out what is wrong as quickly as possible. In-house diagnostics are a fast and reliable way for the veterinary practice to figure out what’s going on with your pet so that we can provide the appropriate treatment and quick relief. Having the diagnostic tools located on-site means the answers to your pet’s problems may be ready in minutes, not hours or days.
Understanding what the options are will help you and your veterinarian decide on what is best for your pet. A well-educated owner is a pet’s best friend!
Your Role in Your Pet’s Diagnosis
Veterinarians have many tools to diagnose illnesses and injuries in animals, but to decide which ones to use, you need to provide all the information you can. There’s a lot of detective work involved in veterinary medicine since the patient can’t advocate for themselves. As a pet parent, you need to speak for your pet and provide any information that may inform a correct diagnostics procedure.
These are the questions we will likely ask:
Is your pet eating normally?
Did they eat anything they shouldn’t have?
Are they vomiting?
Are they drinking normally? (Drinking too little, or too much can indicate a problem).
Are they having normal bowel movements?
If possible, bring a stool sample for analysis.
Has the animal been less active than usual?
Are there any other abnormal behaviors?
Was the animal injured? (Hit by a car, attacked by another animal, stepped on, etc.).
Diagnostic Laboratory Tests – What’s What?
We have many different diagnostic tools available to them today. Technology has improved vastly in recent years, making it easier than ever to provide the best care to your pet. Generally, we will start with the least invasive test that will provide the answers needed. Many of these tests cause no or very little discomfort to your animal.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to find out what’s going on inside your pet’s body is blood work. Blood is obtained from a vein, usually from your pet’s leg. Your pet will only feel a tiny prick of the needle, for just a second.
What Can Blood Work Reveal?
Blood cell counts can be done quickly and reveal quite a lot. High white blood cells may indicate a bacterial infection, while low white red blood cell counts could mean a virus or an immune system problem. Low red blood cell counts indicate anemia.
Routine blood tests include feline leukemia and heartworm. These tests should be done during your pet’s first wellness visit. If the tests come back negative, cats can be vaccinated for leukemia and dogs can be placed on monthly heartworm prevention.
For older pets, blood analysis can measure how well the kidneys and other organs are functioning. These tests should be done during regular wellness checks. The first test will be used to establish a baseline to compare to if your pet is sick later. Pets should be brought in for wellness checks, once or twice a year, depending on their age and health status.
All samples are sent to IDEXX Laboratory, where they use a screening protocol with Elisa technology that detects antigens released from adult hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. Other things the technician will look for include blood in the stool, mucous, and other things, such as pieces of plastic or other non-food items that indicate your pet ate something they should not have eaten.
Examining your pet’s urine can uncover many problems before your pet even shows any symptoms of disease or disorders like diabetes. First, the technician will look at the color, consistency, clarity, and other visual characteristics. Then they will check for the presence of protein, blood, crystals, and other things that should not be found in a healthy animal’s urine.
During your visit or when you make the appointment, ask us how to collect a urine sample from your pet. If you can’t collect it yourself there are other methods for obtaining the urine, depending on the type of animal.
Other lab tests
We can examine swabs taken from ears or skin scrapings to examine under the microscope. Problems such as ear mites, ringworm, infections, even some cancers can be quickly diagnosed.