Complete Blood Count (CBC) - A complete blood count or CBC evaluates the red blood cells, white blood cells, blood protein and platelets. Information about both the quantity and quality of these cells is determined. Changes in what these cells look like (morphology) or in their number can assist in the diagnosis of many diseases.
Serum Chemistry Profile - In this test, multiple blood chemistry determinations are used to simultaneously assess the health status of various organ systems. Results from this test, used in conjunction with results from a CBC and urinalysis, can be used to detect a wide variety of diseases. This test should be performed once or twice a year in all geriatric animals.
Urinalysis - This test performed on urine has several components that are very important in detecting a large number of diseases. The urine concentration ( urine specific gravity ), presence of protein, ketones, glucose, bilirubin, blood, cells, crystals, etc. are all determined to aid in the detection of disease. This test should be performed once or twice a year in all geriatric animals.
Urine Culture and Sensitivity - A urine culture is performed to test for infection in the urinary tract. A sensitivity is performed to determine which antibiotics will most effectively kill the organism causing the infection.
Fecal Testing - There are a variety of tests that can be performed on feces. Which test is recommended depends on whether or not your dog or cat has symptoms, and if so, what the symptoms are. The most common test performed on feces is a fecal floatation which is used to screen for parasites or their eggs. This test should be performed yearly in all pets, regardless of age.
Diagnostic Imaging - Imaging test, like x-rays and ultrasounds, provide a non-invasive way to visually evaluate normal and abnormal anatomy. These tests can be used to localize disease as well as diagnose many disease processes.
Thyroid Function Tests - There are several tests that can be used to measure the level of thyroid hormone in the blood. This measurement is used to diagnose hyperthyroidism in cats (excessive thyroid hormone production), hypothyroidism in dogs (inadequate thyroid hormone production) and to monitor response to treatment.
Serum Bile Acid Test - This test is used to evaluate liver function. We may use this test to monitor progression of disease, response to treatment or as a diagnostic aid.
Serologic Test - These tests can be performed on blood serum to detect the presence and/or number of antibodies against certain organisms or certain parts of the organism itself. The most common serologic testing performed at our hospital for routine health screening in dogs is the heartworm test and Lyme antibody test. In cats the most commonly screened for, is feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.
Cytology - Cytology literally means "the study of cells". This test is used to help determine the cause of masses, lumps, bumps, discharge, skin abnormalities, organ abnormalities and changes in or abnormal body fluids, for example. Cells are obtained via fine-needle aspiration, impression smear, swab, skin scrapings, or - centesis (acquiring fluid from a body cavity, organ or joint space). These cells are then stained and examined under a microscope. In many cases, a diagnosis can be made by examination of cells alone. Occasionally, adequate numbers of cells cannot be obtained for a cytological diagnosis ( the cells don't exfoliate or come out, blood contamination, etc.) In this case, either further sampling or a different test may be recommended (such as biopsy).
These are examples of some of the more commonly performed diagnostic and/or screening tests. There are many other types of tests that we can perform when indicated to help in diagnosing, treating and managing disease.