Blood work and other laboratory tests are essential to providing a "window" into your pet's body. Diseases that are not apparent during a physical examination can be detected quickly through the use of laboratory tests. For the majority of our blood work and lab tests, we utilize our in-house laboratory for quick and accurate diagnoses. Our laboratory is capable of performing a variety of tests for your pet including:
Having an in-house laboratory enables us to arrive at a more rapid diagnosis for your pet during an emergency or when time is of the essence. Our hospital also utilizes an outside reference laboratory capable of producing results within 24 hours.
We use blood testing as a tool to help us diagnose what is wrong with your pet when it is sick. We can run blood chemistry tests and complete blood counts in our lab in the clinic and we have a strong relationship with Marshfield labs to get more specific testing done if necessary.
We recommend a 4DX test every year for our dogs that live here in Minnesota. The test we run is called a 4DX test because it actually tests for four different diseases: Heartworm disease, Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis. These are diseases that are transmitted by mosquitos and ticks. They can cause life threatening conditions, but are treatable, especially if detected early. It is very important for all dogs to get the 4DX test every year.
Minnesota is home to the mosquito that transmits Heartworm disease. We still see this very preventable disease in our practice every year. The treatment is very expensive and prevention is definitely the way to go both financially and for the health of your dog.
We also feel that it is very important to test senior pets every year. We use a senior screen to look at their internal organs to check for kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, and thyroid disease. This test helps us to act on issues before they become real problems. The senior years are when we see many more of these problems, so starting at age 7 we will be reminding you about this testing.
It is very important to check a stool sample on your pet periodically. We recommend checking stool samples on puppies and kittens very often - at each visit. We like to see 3 negative stools samples in a row. This ensures us that your baby is clean of parasites. These youngsters can have a really heavy parasite load and they often pick up parasites easily since they are picking everything up in their mouths. They also can get re-infected by stepping in stool that contains parasite eggs.
When we check a stool sample, we are looking for worm eggs or protozoa in the stool not the adult worm. In fact, most of the time you can't see the worms with the naked eye. If you are seeing them, it is very likely that your pet has many parasites.
Checking a stool sample is very important to keep you and your family healthy too. Some parasites are transmissible to people. That means we can get them too! This is especially important if you have young children or immune-suppressed individuals at home.
Radiographs (x-rays) are one of the most useful diagnostic tools for diagnosing medical and surgical problems in your pet. X-rays enable us to determine the location and severity of bone fractures. They also help to identify the symptoms of heart disease, bladder stones, tumors, and locate foreign bodies (bones, toys, etc.).
We develop our x-rays on site and can read them right away.
Many pets are comfortable enough lying on the table to have their ‘picture’ taken but occasionally they are so nervous or have so much pain that they need a little sedation. Since they need to hold very still for the x-ray, we encourage sedation for the nervous or painful patient.
The Minnesota Board of Health does not allow owners to be in the x-ray room when the x-rays are being taken. We endeavor to take the pictures as quickly as possible and get your pet back to you as soon as we can.