What are 'labs?' It's more than just blood work!
Blood work tells us what is happening on the inside of your pet. It is critical that we have at least blood done once a year to establish a baseline, so we know what is 'normal' for your pet and what is abnormal. When pets are sick, they can't tell us where it hurts or how it hurts and how long they have been ill, so bloodwork often is the first thing that we do to get to the bottom of sickness. But blood is not just for sick babies! Running bloodwork on healthy, well fur children is important too! We can also send tests to check for Valley Fever, Pancreatitis, Heartworms, FELV/FIV and many more when called for.
Running urine on your pet can help diagnose urinary tract infections, kidney diseases and diabetes. It is helpful to not just run urine when your pet is sick or experiencing symptoms of a UTI, but it is extremely helpful to get a baseline urine sample once a year once your pet becomes a 'senior' so we can catch changes early.
Fine Needle Aspirates
Fine needle aspirations are used when there are masses, lumps and bumps or cysts. We insert a small needle directly into the site we need sample cells from and send that sample's image to a pathologist to read out the sample slide. In a short amount of time we then get back a pathologists interpretation of the sample and can make the correct steps to either monitor or remove the site in question via surgery.
Some ear infections, urinary track infections and other samples can sometimes be 'cultured' to find out what the infection would respond to best when treating. These specialized cultures can sometimes also tell us what the root cause of chronic irritations or infections are.
Some masses that are removed during surgery need to be sent to a lab where specialists can dissect and analyze the tissue make-up of the mass in order to tell us what kind of mass it is. It is often recommended that all masses be biopsied to ensure correct treatment can begin after mass removal and make sure complete removal of the mass was done.