At Animal Hospital at Brier Creek, we believe prevention is key to good medicine. Early diagnosis and treatment of disease are the best means to ensuring the longest, happiest lives for our pets. Diagnostic testing, therefore, plays a key role in your pet’s health.
Based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and health needs, we will help you determine the best testing options. Wellness and senior panels include various blood tests and may also include urine and/or fecal screens.
A Full In-House Diagnostic Lab
AHBC has extensive in-house diagnostic testing capabilities. Our state-of-the-art lab machines can return myriad comprehensive lab work results in about 20 minutes, so we can thoroughly discuss all results during your visit, as well as any recommendations for treatment.
For healthy dogs and cats, we run basic wellness lab work, usually routine blood tests, once a year. Older pets need routine lab work every 6 months. We often need to run more extensive diagnostic tests on senior or sick pets.
Wellness lab work gives us a baseline, so that we know what is normal for your unique pet. Gradual changes over the years help us detect abnormalities before your pet is showing any symptoms—or even feeling ill.
What We Test
In our full diagnostic lab, we run various blood tests. The full chemistry panel checks the health of the liver, kidney, and pancreas, as well as protein and electrolyte levels and thyroid function. The chemistry panels also screens for diabetes and low blood sugar by testing your pet’s blood glucose level.
The full CBC, or complete blood count, checks the red count for anemia, the white count for infection or inflammation, and the platelet count, which is a factor in blood clotting.
Using a basic stand-alone blood test, we can detect the presence of heartworms in dogs and of feline leukemia and FIV in cats. These rapid tests require only two drops of blood and are complete in just 10 minutes.
The comprehensive urinalysis panel checks for urinary tract infections, elevated glucose and ketone levels due to diabetes, and the presence of kidney disease.
If you suspect an ear infection, we can gently collect samples from your pet’s ears with soft cotton swabs and analyze those samples to determine the presence of bacterial and/or yeast infections or ear mites. We can take skin samples to look for skin infections.
A Note on Fecal Testing
We almost always ask pet parents to bring a fresh fecal sample from their pet to the visit. Our pet parents are used to it! They understand the importance of screening for intestinal parasites.
Your pet’s stool sample can be as small as a grape, or a cherry tomato. We send fecal samples to an outside diagnostic laboratory, which tests for the presence of eggs, parasites, and Giardia, which is quite common in this area. Thankfully, these issues are easily treated with a course of anti-parasitic medication.
But left untreated, intestinal parasites can become serious health risks. That’s why we recommend fecal testing every 6 months, or at least annually.
What About Outside Lab Work?
Some pets, especially senior ones, need a larger blood work panel to monitor a broader range of health issues. We often use an outside diagnostic laboratory for such cases. Results are usually back within 24 hours, and we call you to discuss the findings and treatment options.
We also use an outside diagnostic lab for less common tests, such as the ACTH stimulation test to check for Cushing’s and Addison’s disease; biopsies to evaluate for cancer; urine cultures to diagnose bacterial and fungal infections; and even hormonal assays to check for excessive growth hormone and deficiencies or excesses in thyroid hormones.
We are always happy to discuss our standards of care with you at every visit.