At Cronulla Veterinary Clinic we pride ourselves on performing thorough physical examinations to assess the health of your pet. But there are times when a physical examination is not enough. For example, when our pets are unwell, and we need to check the function of their organs in more detail, or in some cases, screening tests are needed to assess if our pet has a hidden disease. One of the ways we can do further testing is by running blood and urine checks. As in human medicine, blood and urine tests are an important diagnostic tool for vets as well.
Our in-house laboratory analysers are state of the art blood machines providing conveniently rapid and reliable results, immediately linked to your pet’s medical file. In some cases, we choose to send bloods away to an external laboratory for a more comprehensive analysis or for follow-up testing.
Screening testing in our older pets, or in pets who need to undergo a procedure under general anaesthetic, is very important as it can be difficult to recognise the signs of disease in pets, especially in the early stages. Screening blood (and urine) tests can help us establish a baseline normal value for your pet, as well as detect hidden diseases in an earlier stage, giving us the option to intervene and support our pets earlier and better, hopefully leading to a longer and better quality of life.
Pre-anaesthetic screening is especially important, as we can assess beforehand if your pet’s organs are functioning properly or if there are problems that need an anaesthetic protocol adjustment or other precautions. If all is ok, then we not only have more peace of mind, but we also have baseline normal results for your pet.
As our pets age more rapidly than we do, yearly screening bloods for our more senior pets is very important, especially if they are on longer term medication such as arthritis medication, heart and fluid medication, etc.
In unwell patients, blood and urine tests are sometimes invaluable to diagnose what is going on. A proper diagnosis is a cornerstone of developing a correct treatment plan and the best possible outcome for the patient.
What do we test and what does it mean?
Complete Blood Count is a count of the Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Platelets in the blood.
The Red Blood Cell count tells us whether or not the patient has anaemia (lower than normal count) or a higher than normal count (this could indicate e.g. dehydration or polycythaemia, an overproduction of red blood cells). The White Blood Cell count gives us the number and types of white blood cells present, any changes from normal could be an indication of possible inflammation, infection, stress or even certain cancers. The platelets are important in blood clotting, a low number of platelets can increase bleeding tendencies.
Biochemistry tests identify and quantify other products in the blood that can give us information about various organs. These products include enzymes, proteins, glucose, electrolytes, kidney waste products, etc. These tests can help us assessing the health of certain organs, and can help localise problems and disease processes.
Other tests may still be needed to complete the diagnostic picture, including further blood testing, imaging (x-rays and/or ultrasound, or more advanced imaging such as CR scans or MRI), faecal testing, histopathology (tissue tests of e.g. lumps or biopsies), etc.
As in human medicine, as vets, we have many tools to help us diagnose (and treat) problems in our pets. Our vets and staff will always work together with our clients to achieve the best possible outcome for our patients, through communication of the reasons for testing and significance of the findings for you and your pet. We welcome any questions you may have. Please contact us at Cronulla Veterinary Clinic.