When your pet is acutely ill, you need answers now. We offer full in-house lab capabilities including Complete Blood Count, Chemistry and electrolyte analyzer, thyroid levels, pancreatic enzyme levels, urinalysis, parvo testing, giardia testing, and fecal parasite testing. We also use the 4DX snap test which checks your dog for heartworms and also checks for 3 important tick-borne diseases- Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. The feline triple snap is also offered to check your kitty for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLv), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and heartworms.
When other specialized testing is indicated, we utilize many additional laboratories all around the country to find answers about your pet.
Cytology and histopathology
What is this bump?
When a skin lump is noted, a needle is used to take cells out of a lump and the material within is sprayed onto a microscope slide. This is called fine needle aspiration. The cells are stained and examined under a microscope. This examination is called cytology. Dr. Pittman is very capable of examining most cytologies at AWRC, giving you answers quickly. Occasionally, she will choose to send out a sample for a pathologist to review.
If something is suspicious, she will sometimes recommend surgery to remove the lump. The lump will then be placed in a jar of formalin and sent to a pathologist for further examination. This is called histopathology. Histopathology can routinely provide a definitive diagnosis of the mystery lump and help us predict the impact that it has on the body.
We offer the following testing for dermatological workup:
Skin Scraping– A blade is used to gently scrape the skin so that we may look for mites such as demodex or scabies that may be living within the hair follicles.
Skin Cytology– a piece of clear tape is used to lift skin cells off the surface of the skin. The cells are examined for health and also for the presence of yeast or bacteria.
Fungal Culture– Hairs are plucked or brushed from the skin and placed on a dermatophyte test medium to check for the growth of ringworm. Growth is allowed over 2 weeks and then cytology is done to look for the dermatophyte known as ringworm.
Ear Cytology– A cotton swab is used to take a sample of the ear canal and smeared onto a microscope slide. The cells are stained and examined for the presence of yeast and bacteria.
We offer the following testing for eyes:
Tonometry– A tool called a tonovet is used to check the pressure of the eye. A high pressure would be indicative of glaucoma. A low pressure is indicative of uveitis.
Schirmer Tear Test– a small strip of paper is placed within the lower lid of the eye and a measurement is taken to understand if tear production is normal for a specified amount of time
Fluorescein Stain Test– a drop of colored liquid is placed in the eye and flushed out. If a corneal scratch or ulcer is present, it will take up the colored liquid and allow us to visualize how deep and wide the defect is.
An ophthalmoscope will be used to examine the cornea, lens, pupillary light responses, and, with the addition of an indirect viewing lens, examination of the retina and its vessels.
Digital x-ray imaging of the thorax (chest) will allow us to view the size and shape of the heart and pulmonary vessels, look for masses in the lungs or near the heart, look for lymph node enlargement within the chest, check for pulmonary edema or effusion, and evaluate the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus.
Blood Pressure– Just like for a person, a small cuff is applied to the patient, usually around the tail or the leg and doppler is used to determine the systemic blood pressure.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) – This test is used to check for rhythm disturbances. Small alligator clips are applied to the pet and a machine records the heartbeats and rhythm, usually over a period of about 2 minutes. The results are sent to a cardiologist for review.
Echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. We are able to measure the thickness of the heart muscle and the diameter of the chambers. We can examine the valves of the heart and assess blood flow using color doppler. We will also calculate the fractional shortening, a measurement of how well the heart is functioning. Common diseases diagnosed with echocardiogram include Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Chronic Valvular diseases, and Endocarditis (infection of the heart valves). With this knowledge, along with the other components of the overall heart workup, we will be able to tailor a treatment plan for your pet right here at AWRC.
Our state of the art Idexx digital x-ray system allows us to take images of your pet with 40% less radiation to the patient than conventional systems. Because it is digital, we are able to take fewer x-rays, and we are not exposing our patients or staff to chemicals previously used in x-ray development. Our staff is highly trained in how to protect themselves and their patients from extraneous radiation. We are able to accurately collimate the image area to avoid exposure to adjacent tissues.
Ultrasound– Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through a small amount of gel and into the body. The probe collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation, thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs. Most patients do not need to be sedated for the procedure making ultrasound a very safe and effective diagnostic tool. With our ultrasound, we are able to examine the abdomen and heart, and will be adding musculoskeletal imaging soon.
AWRC offers a unique blood test that detects inflammation and warning signs of cancer in dogs and cats. This test can provide valuable information about the health status of the pet before clinical signs of the disease are observed. If cancer is actually suspected there is also a Biomarker screen that can aid in a diagnostic workup and therapeutic monitoring. The two tests can also be supported with a canine Vitamin D test. Sufficient levels of Vitamin D are critical for assuring health of the immune system. The Cancer screening test is recommended for all pets who are aging. Early detection is the key to survival for pets as with humans when fighting most cancers.
We likewise offer Feline-specific Haptoglobin test for the objective determination of systemic inflammation. It is used to detect hidden inflammatory disease and monitor treatment and recovery. There is additionally a Feline Biomarker test for suspected cancer; it is also useful for the differential diagnosis of intestinal lymphoma and inflammatory bowel disease when intestinal biopsies are not desired or cannot be performed.