Laboratory Testing

DSC_0732Goodworks Veterinary Hospital has a well-equipped in-house veterinary diagnostics laboratory.  Our laboratory (Lab) is capable of testing across a range of species including dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and llamas. We perform most lab tests in-house and for any tests we cannot perform in-house, we send to a state-of-the-art outside veterinary diagnostics laboratory. We recommend lab tests for many reasons. These tests can simply be a preventive measure to monitor your pet’s health (which are kept in the patient's record and can be used as a baseline for future reference) or they may be critical in making a definitive diagnosis. Tests may also be needed to determine if your pet is healthy enough to be administered certain medications and our hospital always recommends pre-anesthetic blood testing prior to any surgical or dental procedure (see information below).

In-house laboratory tests include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Blood Chemistry: Blood chemistry panels offer valuable information for diagnosing a spectrum of underlying diseases.
  • Electrolytes, which are important when evaluating vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and/or cardiac symptoms.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC), which provides detailed information about red and white blood cells and platelets.
  • Urinalysis: Testing that can be helpful in diagnosing diabetes as well as kidney or urinary tract issues.
  • Heartworm Tests: Tests for the heartworm parasite that can live in the heart, major blood vessels, and the lungs of dogs and rarely cats. Left untreated, heartworms can be fatal. There is no medical treatment for cats. There are many heartworm prevention products available and we can assist you in the best choice for your pet. (SEE OUR CLIENT HANDOUTS)
  • Lab 4DX: Tests for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis, all of which can be serious illnesses. Tick prevention and Lyme Disease vaccines are recommended for dogs.
  • Thyroid (T4) Tests: Tests thyroid function by measuring the level of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood.
  • Electrocardiogram: Detects heart rate and electrical rhythm, either of which when abnormal can be an indicator of heart disease and can be harmful to patients undergoing anesthesia.
  • Parvo Tests: Tests for canine parvovirus, which is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea in dogs. Left untreated, a high percentage of infected puppies do not survive. Parvo is almost 100% preventable through proper vaccination by your veterinarian.
  • Fine Needle Aspirate with Cytology: This consist of using a very small needle to collect cells from a mass. The doctor can then evaluate the cells under a microscope to assist in a preliminary diagnosis.
  • Ear Cytology: A sample of discharge from a pet’s ear can be collected and examined under the microscope. We can look for rod or cocci shaped bacteria, yeast, and mites. Appropriate medication can then be dispensed and response to treatment can be monitored. *Please note: This process does not identify a specific bacterial organism such as a staph. A culture would be required for specific identification.
  • Fecal Examination: A process in which we can look for the eggs of intestinal parasites which are shed from adult worms. We can also look for certain protozoal organisms and imbalances of normal bacterial populations. All of these things can cause diarrhea.
  • Feline Leukemia and FIV Testing: Both of these diseases are contagious and cause immunosuppression in cats. Every kitten or new cat should be tested for both of these diseases. The doctor may also recommend testing at certain time points after being in contact with cats of unknown status, or after a period of freedom outdoors.
  • Skin Scrapings: Cells are collected from a patient by scraping the skin surface. The doctor can then evaluate the cells under a microscope to aid in a preliminary diagnosis. Skin scrapings are often indicated for skin conditions, especially those involving hair loss and itchiness. Skin scraping are often used to identify mite infestations such as Sarcoptes and Demodex (i.e. Mange).

To reduce the risk for your pet, we always recommend pre-anesthetic blood testing prior to any surgical or dental procedure. The blood screening ensures that your pet is healthy enough to receive anesthetics by checking parameters related to organ function. It also checks values related to blood cells. The blood tests can find potentially hidden diseases that may prevent your pet from otherwise fully processing and eliminating the anesthetic. The pre-anesthetic blood screening includes blood chemistry panel, electrolytes, and complete blood count tests listed above.


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