Diagnostic Services

LaboratoryIn-House Lab

One of the most important diagnostic tools in any emergency hospital is the ability to perform crucial laboratory testing on patients. These laboratory tests look for signs of infection, evaluate organ function, and detect the effects of some toxins. With a complete in-house laboratory, we are able to perform a wide range of our own tests and receive results within minutes, allowing our emergency clinician to start precise treatments immediately. For more specialized lab tests, we utilize an outside professional laboratory offering twice-daily pickups and quick online access to results.

Some of the most common laboratory services we perform in-house are:

Complete blood count (CBC) - This test shows us the count of your pet's white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. The test is used to detect signs of anemia, infection and assesses hydration.

Chemistry Panel - Chemistries show us more specifically how certain organs are functioning. Depending on the chemistry run, we can assess liver, kidney and pancreas functionality, among others.

Electrolytes - Electrolyte imbalances can affect the heart and muscles. Imbalances can also alert us to certain endocrine diseases.

Coagulation Profiles - Clotting time evaluations help show rat poison ingestion, the presence of liver disease and other coagulation abnormalities.

Fecal Analysis - A small sample of stool can show us if your pet has any intestinal parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and coccidia. The test can also be used to check for canine parvovirus.

In addition, we have the ability to perform:

  • Blood gas analysis
  • Lactate levels
  • Testing for canine tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis
  • Heartworm testing (feline and canine)
  • Canine pancreatitis testing
  • Blood typing and crossmatching
  • Testing for feline viruses such as feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Cytologies

For toxic exposures, we can test for:

  • Rodenticide exposure
  • Ethylene glycol poisoning
  • Organophosphate toxicity

We also offer consultation with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for the comprensive management of any potential toxic exposure cases.

Digital Radiography

Digital radiography (x-ray) imaging plays a critical role in the modern diagnosis of our patients and provides diagnostic detail far above film. The ability to use advanced equipment to "see" exactly what is normal or abnormal within the body of a patient, as well as to plan and execute effective treatment, has revolutionized veterinary medicine. In this form of x-ray imaging, digital x-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film.

Our digital radiography system makes x-ray images immediately available, reducing the need for sedation in most patients (unless the patient is in pain or fractious) and lessening the amount of radiation used to produce an image of similar contrast to conventional radiography. These images allow us to view inside the body to evaluate organs (like the heart and lungs), abnormal fluids, broken bones, and foreign body obstructions. In some cases it may be necessary for a radiologist to review the images or consult with the veterinarian on your pet's x-rays. Board certified radiologists are available 24/7 if needed.

Digital radiographs will be saved to a disc and given to you to take to your primary care veterinarian or to keep as part of your pet's medical record.

ultrasoundUltrasound

Digital ultrasound lets us gain a visual understanding of the internal condition of the patient, with movement and viewing access that cannot be gained in any other way. This diagnostic tool is minimally invasive and most commonly used to evaluate abdominal organs. By using high frequency sound waves, ultrasound waves can be bounced off tissues using special devices. These echoes are then converted into an image called a sonogram. Ultrasound imaging, referred to as ultrasonography, allows us to get an inside view of soft tissues and body cavities without using invasive techniques. It can be used to establish a diagnosis, monitor a condition, aid in organ biopsies and often helps avoid more invasive surgical procedures.

The information obtained from ultrasonography is complementary to radiographs and blood and urine testing. It often helps to determine the next diagnostic or therapeutic step in a patient's care.

Blood Pressure Monitoring

Patients may need to have their blood pressure monitored for a variety of reasons. Some patients may have underlying disease processes, such as hyperthyroidism or cardiomyopathy, which predispose them to blood pressure abnormalities. Certain human medications, when ingested by pets, can also negatively affect their blood pressure. All patients undergoing surgical procedures have their blood pressure monitored closely while under anesthesia.

We have two systems to measure your pet's blood pressure: Oscillometric and Doppler. The oscillometric system gathers computer generated readings, while the Doppler system uses an ultrasound crystal probe to detect blood pressure by the sound frequency changes heard. Our technical staff is skilled in both techniques and is able to provide doctors with timely updates on a patient's blood pressure changes.

Electrocardiography (ECG) Monitoring

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a diagnostic test that records the electrical activity of the heart and is a non-invasive test. The heart's electrical activity is recorded by attaching small contact electrodes to the limbs and chest wall. This allows recording of electrical activity onto paper printed from an electrocardiograph machine.

The ECG is the test of choice for diagnosis of abnormal heart rates and rhythms (arrythmias) and also can be useful for identification of heart enlargement or drug effects on the heart. An ECG is also used as an aid when monitoring patients during anesthesia. Often an ECG will be recorded when a heart murmur is detected, when there is x-ray evidence of heart enlargement, or when cardiovascular symptoms such as fainting occur. There is no real contraindication to performing this test in a stable patient; however, it should be appreciated that a normal ECG does not exclude the possibility of heart disease.

While the ECG can be a screening test for serious heart disease, it does not detect all heart problems and is actually a complementary examination to the stethoscope exam, chest x-ray, and echocardiogram (ultrasound). Typically, a routine electrocardiogram is about 1 to 2 minutes long. When there are sporadic electrical disturbances of the heart, these may not be detected by a routine exam. In such cases, a Holter or Event monitor ECG should be considered.