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Important Tests Description

When your veterinarian makes recommendations to perform certain tests, this page will help your understand what information these tests may reveal:

ACT ALT Albumin CBC Creatinine Fecal Glucose PCV
Profile Protein Heartworm Thyroid Urine
Activated Clotting Time (ACT) 
westgate2010_dsc04953This test is a screening test used to measure the blood's ability to properly clot. The typical small amounts of bleeding that occur during surgery could be fatal in a pet that can not clot properly. Top of this page
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) 
Alanine aminotransferase is found in large quantities only in the liver. When it is found in the blood it indicates liver cell injury. Some types of anesthesia are metabolized by the liver and so proper liver function is important to quick recovery from anesthesia. In addition, most of the proteins necessary to heal from surgery are made in the liver. The liver also is involved with making many of the clotting factors necessary to prevent serious bleeding. Top of this page
Albumin is the main building block necessary for the proper healing following surgery. Decreases in this protein may result from malnutrition, malabsorption, chronic liver disease, fever, diabetes, prolonged post-surgical recovery, burns, parasitism, or hemorrhage. Top of this page
Complete Blood Count 
This test includes measurements of the packed cell volume, total plasma protein, total white blood cell counts, and total platelet counts. We have automated machines to do these tests accurately within minutes of drawing a blood sample. The PCV and TPP are discussed above. An increase or decrease in the white blood cell count may be an indication of a viral infection, bacterial infection or certain types of cancer. Further interpretation of the white blood cells would help determine the cause. Platelets are important for the ability to properly control bleeding. Top of this page
Complete Blood Profile 
This test gives a more complete overview of liver, kidney, pancreas and electrolytes. This test includes albumin, alkaline phosphatase, ALT, bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen, calcium, chloride, creatinine, globulin, glucose, phosphorus, total protein, sodium, potassium. We have automated machines to do most of these tests within minutes of drawing a blood sample. For routine pre-surgical workup, overnight results are received more economically from an outside laboratory. Top of this page
Complete Urine Analysis and Sediment 
This test would detect the presence of protein, glucose, ketones, bilirubin, urobilinogen or red blood cells in the urine. The concentration of the urine and pH are measured. A examination of urine sediment looks for white blood cells, crystals and bacteria. Abnormalities in the urine could lead to a diagnosis of a urinary infection, diabetes, early kidney disease, bladder stones, or liver disease. Top of this page
The creatinine level is a measure of the kidney's ability to filter and purify the blood. Some types of anesthesia are metabolized by the kidneys and so proper kidney function is important to quick recovery from anesthesia. Kidney failure is commonly seen in older pets. Kidney failure is often difficult to detect in its early stages, anesthesia and surgery could compound the problems of treating this disease effectively. Top of this page
The glucose level in the blood is normally maintained in a very narrow range. Elevated levels of glucose are associated with diabetes, increased thyroid function, increased adrenal function, increased pituitary function, exposure to cold, following a general anesthesia, and from extreme fear or excitement. Decreased glucose levels may occur from starvation, adrenal insufficiency, pituitary insufficiency, and liver disease. Top of this page
Heartworm Test
Heartworm disease is caused by a small worm transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Found in dogs and cats. No symptoms initially. In 1-2 years dogs get a cough develops followed by heart, liver, and kidney failure. Cats have difficult breathing, sudden death and occasionally vomiting. No vaccination available. Prevention through daily or monthly preventative medication is recommended for all dogs and outdoor cats. Top of this page
Hyperthyroid Test 
Disease resulting from increased production of thyroxine by thyroid gland. Usually caused by a benign tumor. Common disease of cats twelve years and older. Symptoms include weight loss with good appetite, hyperactivity and very fast heart rates. A successfully treated disease. Antithyroid pills can often control; radiation treatment can cure this disease. Top of this page

Hypothyroid Test 
Disease resulting from decreased production of thyroxine by thyroid gland. Not seen in cats. Symptoms include obesity, symmetrical hair loss between back legs and each front leg. Skin may be dry and flaky but not red. Most common in larger breeds including Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. Daily supplementation with l-thyroxine will easily control all symptoms of disease as long as the medication is continued. Improvement is seen in 4-6 weeks. Top of this page
Intestinal Parasite Examination 
Including roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Transmitted by fecal contamination. Found in both dogs and cats. No disease at first. May suddenly note severe diarrhea. Weight loss, and poor hair coat are common. Yearly fecal parasite examination by microscope. 
Heartworm medication protects dogs from intestinal parasites. Treatment is available and effective. Some pets will quickly become re-infected and may require more frequent fecal examinations. Top of this page
Packed Cell Volume (PCV) 
This test measures the relative amount of red blood cells (RBC's) in the body. The PCV may vary with the age of the pet, the quality of nutrition or the state of hydration. A variation in the number of RBC's could effect their ability to carry oxygen to the body. Anemia is a condition in which there is a reduction in the numbers of RBC's. Anemia could be the result of external bleeding, internal bleeding, hemolysis or the inadequate production of RBC's by the body. Polycythemia describes an increase in the RBC count. Most polycythemia is associated by a decrease in the serum found in the blood vessels, not an increase in the amount of RBC's. Common causes of polycythemia include water deprivation, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, malnutrition and shock. Top of this page
Total Plasma Protein (TPP) 
This test measures the relative amount of protein in the blood. Many forms of protein are created in the liver. Decreased production of protein could be the result of malnutrition, malabsorption disorders of the intestines, parasitism or liver disease. Elevated protein levels occur with dehydration, shock, certain cancers and infections. Top of this page

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