While a physical examination of your cat or dog is highly effective in assessing their health, it doesn’t give the full picture. If your pet is unwell, on certain medications, advancing in age, or about to undergo surgery, they may require diagnostic testing to gain a more complete understanding of their health.
Diagnostic testing for your pet encompasses a whole range of tests, from blood, urine or faecal testing through to X-ray or ultrasound.
In this blog, we take you through each of these different types of tests in detail.
Just like when we are unwell, blood tests are an important diagnostic and monitoring tool for dogs and cats. They can provide vets with immediate insights into the health of your pet, including if they are suffering from an infection, how their organs are functioning, as well as information relating to their blood sugar and hydration levels.
Blood tests are performed in a number of circumstances:
- Prior to surgery or a procedure. Before your cat or dog undergoes anaesthesia, it’s important to check to see if they are healthy enough to be sedated. This also allows us to customise your pet’s anaesthesia to ensure their surgery or procedure is as safe as possible.
- When your pet is unwell or injured. Blood tests can help vets to work out what is making your pet ill, as well as to screen for any underlying or developing disease. If your pet has been injured, blood tests can check to see how their major organs are functioning.
- Medication monitoring. If your cat or dog is on medication, your vet may require your pet to undergo regular blood testing. This may be to ensure the medication dosing is correct, or if it is causing any potentially dangerous side effects.
- Preventative screening in older pets. As pets get older, they tend to develop more health problems. Routine blood testing during their annual health check can help detect the beginnings of any illness (such as thyroid disease, diabetes or kidney disease).
Urine analysis is another common diagnostic tool vets use to assess the health of your pet. This is typically performed when your cat or dog is unwell, as it allows your vet to detect a range of diseases, infection, damage to cells and see if there is blood in the urine. We can undertake urine analysis in-house here at Cameron Veterinary Services’ Gawler East vet clinic and provide you with results quite quickly.
Further analysis can be forwarded onto specialist laboratories, including to further identify bacteria in your pet’s urine and more accurately measure kidney function. These tests take longer to perform, so results may not be received for a few days.
It is pretty common for cats and dogs to be infected with parasites at some stage during their life. If your pet is suffering from diarrhoea, your vet may test their stools for the presence of intestinal parasites such as giardia, roundworms, tapeworms or hookworms. This will then enable your animal to be effectively treated.
Another common procedure we undertake in our small animal clinic is an X-ray. X-rays are used to diagnose a wide range of issues, including conditions relating to the heart, lungs or abdominal region, as well as fractures and orthopaedic issues. As dogs and cats aren’t known for their ability to stay perfectly still when asked, we typically need to gently sedate them for X-rays.
Ultrasound is another diagnostic test we use in our clinic. Depending on the reason for the testing, and your pet’s disposition, a small sedation may be required to perform the ultrasound. We use ultrasound for a number of reasons, including:
- To get an in-depth look at your pet’s internal organs
- Locate any foreign objects in the stomach
- Diagnose or check on a cat or dog’s pregnancy
- Look for signs of disease
The most common organs we ultrasound are the liver, kidney, bladder and heart.
Our diagnostic testing facilities
Our purpose-built small animal clinic in Gawler East is equipped with the latest diagnostic technologies. This allows us to take digital X-rays and ultrasounds and perform a wide range of common diagnostic tests undertaken including blood tests, urine analysis, faecal tests, and cultures.
Our on-site laboratory allows our staff to analyse test results onsite to provide prompt diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan without delay.
For non-routine diagnostic testing we have a network of external specialist laboratories that we utilise.
To make an appointment at our vet clinic at the Springwood Place Shopping Complex, book online or call us on 08 8318 1801.