This means that if your pet is unwell, we can perform a detailed investigation within a matter of minutes to hours, rather than waiting up to 24 hours for results from an external laboratory. Faster diagnosis means quicker answers for us, and therefore more rapid treatment for your pet!
With our in-house laboratory machines, we are able to perform a wide range of blood tests within an hour of collecting a blood sample from your pet at the clinic. With these tests, we can assess many aspects of organ function and metabolism, including:
- red blood cells for any signs of anaemia
- white blood cells for any evidence of inflammation, infection or immune-deficiency
- kidney health – useful for cases of suspected toxins, or any old or unwell pets
- liver health – useful for cases of suspected toxins or other liver diseases such as hepatitis (liver inflammation) or liver tumours
- blood glucose levels for any evidence of diabetes or hypoglycaemia
- blood protein levels, which can become low with severe gastrointestinal illness or kidney disease
- electrolyte levels, which can become unbalanced with gastrointestinal illness, kidney disease or hormonal imbalances
- blood clotting, in cases of animals with unusual/excessive bleeding, e.g. if ratbait poisoning is suspected
- thyroid hormone levels in cats with hyperthyroidism, for diagnosis and then monitoring of treatment
- drug levels in epileptic patients, to see if their medication dosage is appropriate
Even in apparently healthy pets, it can be very useful to run some of these blood tests prior to a routine surgical or dental procedure (particularly in elderly pets), to ensure they do not have any pre-existing organ dysfunction which could make an anaesthetic or certain medications unsafe for them.
If your pet is getting blood tests, you can also ask to be emailed the results for your records.
Cytology is examining cells from the body under a microscope to make a disease diagnosis. Here at Beach and Bay Vet, we are enthusiastic about using our cytology skills and clinic microscope to get quick on-site answers about your pet’s unwellness. This allows us to perform tests such as:
- Urine tests – these are useful in cases of general unwellness, weight loss, unusual urination, or blood-tinged urine, to check for:
- Urinary tract infection or inflammation
- Bladder stones/crystals
- Kidney damage
- General kidney health
- Evidence of unusual glucose in urine, which can suggest diabetes
- Evidence of bilirubin pigment in urine, which can suggest liver or gallbladder disease
- Evidence of excessive protein in urine, which can suggest kidney disease or high blood pressure
- Blood tests – in addition to the blood tests above, we can look at blood under the microscope to help get information on:
- red blood cells in cases of anaemia, to see there is any evidence of red blood cell parasites or other damage
- platelet numbers in cases of animals with unusual bleeding problems, to see if there is a deficiency
- Faecal tests – these are done as part of an investigation of weight loss, vomiting or diarrhoea, where we can look for evidence of:
- Other internal parasites such as coccidia
- Blood in the faeces
- Poor digestion
- Ear swabs – to check for ear infection, and differentiate different types of infection (yeast or various bacteria) to help ensure effective treatment
- Fine needle aspirate – this involves collecting a small needle “biopsy” from lumps or other skin lesions on your pet. This is useful as:
- It helps differentiate harmless fatty tumours or cysts from more worrying tumours which need further treatment
- It can be done with no sedation or anaesthetic, provided your pet can tolerate one quick “ouch” needle poke!
- Skin testing – this is useful for pets with itchy, red or raw skin, or areas of hair loss or skin thickening. This can involve either sticky tape collection of surface cells, or a gentle skin scrape, which allows us to check for:
- yeast or bacterial infection
- mites infection
Therefore, rest assured that if your pet is unwell and the cause is not immediately obvious after a physical examination, we can offer you more detailed testing straight away rather than having to send you to another location for more answers. Our vets will advise you on what the most appropriate testing would be, and how much this will cost. Knowledge really is power – more information about your pet’s organ function and disease process allows us to make an accurate diagnosis and offer the most appropriate treatment options, so we can get your pet on the road to recovery as soon as possible.