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The Top 3 Laboratory Tests Used Routinely in Veterinary Medicine

The following are some of the most frequent basic tests conducted by veterinarians, veterinary technicians, or laboratory workers. Tests may be done within your veterinarian’s office, or samples can be sent to a laboratory. The clinic may collect samples for the testing, or the pet owner can collect samples at home and bring them to the clinic.

Laboratory Tests Used Frequently in Veterinary Medicine

Most veterinary clinics like the animal hospital in San Diego can conduct basic laboratory testing on-site. The complexity and kinds of tests performed will differ across clinics. The following tests are routinely performed at an in-house laboratory or in their clinic.

Other Blood Tests and the Complete Blood Count (CBC)

Many tests may be performed on blood samples, but only a few are regularly performed at veterinary clinics. As testing grows increasingly automated, some veterinarians may be able to provide a wider variety of tests inside their clinics. Still, the bulk will continue to be performed by outside labs (see below).

A complete blood count (CBC), which examines the amount and appearance of blood cells, is one of the most frequent examinations. The CBC is useful in illness and infection diagnosis and monitoring. The veterinarian or a veterinary technician collects blood samples for analysis. The CBC is divided into three sections that provide information on red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Red blood cells make three common measurements: packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, and red blood cell count. All three are interconnected and aid your veterinarian in an illness diagnosis. At times a vet may require a digital x-rays to ensure and confirm information found in the test.

The packed cell volume is the percentage of blood volume filled by red blood cells. Polycythemia is frequent in pets that are dehydrated or have diarrhea. A low packed cell volume might indicate anemia or bleeding. 

The quantity of hemoglobin in a blood sample shows the red blood cells’ ability to transport oxygen. The amount of red blood cells in a unit volume of blood is called the red blood cell count. The findings of red blood cell testing may tell your veterinarian a lot about how your pet’s body works and may indicate potential health concerns that require veterinary emergencies.

Stool Examinations

The pet owner may collect feces samples before a visit, or the veterinarian may collect them. A little part of the feces sample may be placed directly on a glass slide or treated in a fluid. A microscope is then used to analyze the substance. 

The use of specific fluids before stool inspection is to identify the presence of parasite cysts such as Giardia, as well as eggs of other parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms.

Urine Examinations

Urine sample analysis (urinalysis) is critical for diagnosing several forms of urinary tract disorders. If urine is stored at room temperature or above, it will deteriorate, and test findings will be inaccurate. Furthermore, urine samples should not be frozen since freezing alters numerous essential properties of the urine. Urine samples are often tested for appearance, chemical, and sediment.

Normal urine is golden or amber in color and should be clear or transparent. The presence of illnesses or infections may cause color or clarity to shift. Normal urine contains a faint ammonia odor for most pet species; however, the urine of certain pets (such as cats) has a strong stench. A bacterial infection of the urinary system may cause a strong ammonia odor in the urine.