Laboratory Services

Lab for websiteWe provide in-house and send-out laboratory services. These help us diagnose and monitor disease in sick pets, measure some drug levels in pets taking chronic medications, and help provide a general health assessment prior to general anesthesia.

Common lab work may include assessment of the following:

  • Albumin is a protein created in the liver that helps keep fluid within the blood vessels (supporting blood pressure and preventing tissue edema). Low albumin can indicate liver disease, kidney disease, or intestinal disease.
  • Alkaline Phosphatase is an enzyme that can indicate liver disease, bone disease, and Cushing’s disease (overproduction of steroids).
  • ALT is an enzyme that can indicate liver inflammation (hepatitis), injury, or liver tumors.
  • Bilirubin can indicate liver disease, gallbladder disease, or excess red blood cell destruction. Pets with elevated bilirubin may develop jaundice (abnormal yellow coloration to skin, gums, or eyes).
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) can indicate liver disease (if low) or kidney disease or dehydration (if high). BUN can be compared to other lab values to assess for GI ulceration or bleeding.
  • Calcium abnormalities can occur with cancer, kidney failure, bone disease, pancreatic disease, or poisoning from rodent bait.
  • Cholesterol and triglyceride elevations can occur with diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and Cushing’s disease. Elevations can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures if untreated.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) measures the number and size of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The CBC helps us assess (1) if a pet is able to carry oxygen through the body adequately (2) if a pet has signs of inflammation, infection, parasites, and occasionally lymphoma, and (3) if a pet may have inadequate blood clotting ability.
  • Creatinine is used to assess for kidney disease and dehydration.
  • Glucose elevations can occur with diabetes, stress, and Cushing’s disease. Low glucose can indicate body-wide bacterial infection (sepsis), liver disease, pancreatic cancer, and insulin overdose in diabetic animals.
  • Phosphorus may be high in pets that have chronic, serious kidney disease.
  • Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) are assessed in pets with kidney disease, urinary blockages, Addison’s disease, and in vomiting animals.
  • Thyroxine (T4) is the hormone produced by the thyroid gland to regulate the body’s rate of metabolism. The T4 level is used to diagnose and monitor treatment of thyroid disease in cats and dogs.
  • Total Protein is used to assess for dehydration, internal bleeding, some infections, liver disease, and some cancers.
  • Urinalysis helps provide valuable information in the assessment of urinary tract and other infections, kidney failure, Fanconi syndrome, Cushing’s disease, and Addison’s disease.
  • Fecal screening assesses for gastrointestinal parasites, including lungworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and Giardia. Many GI parasites can be transmitted to people so timely assessment and treatment is very important.
  • Due to the high tick and mosquito burden in the area, a Heartworm, Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichia screen is recommended yearly. These tests are run in-house and only require a few drops of blood.
  • Feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FeLV/FIV) testing is recommended for all new kittens or cats, cats with severe illness, as well as for cats that have scuffled with a stray or outdoor cat.

We welcome your questions about your pet’s lab work and are happy to explain our findings.

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