Diagnostic Laboratory

A laboratory is essential for assessing the health status of patients and getting a speedy diagnosis.

Our in-house laboratory facility provides the following:

Collecting blood for a senior wellness screen

Blood chemistry analysis:  Assesses kidney and liver function, electrolytes, blood glucose, protein levels, thyroid function, pancreas injury. 

Complete Blood Count:  Assesses red blood cells (which carry oxygen through the body) and white blood cells (which indicate different kinds of inflammation) and platelets (needed for normal blood clotting)

Microscopic view of a urinary tract infection

Urinalysis:  Helps to assess kidney function, as well as diagnose urinary tract infections, look for abnormal crystals or cells, detect protein, blood, or glucose in the urine.

Pre-anesthetic screening:  We recommend and perform blood tests for patients undergoing anesthesia, particularly if the patient is older or has any potential health problems that may affect our choice of anesthesia or monitoring protocol. 

Fine needle aspirate cytology demonstrates that this lump is a mast cell tumour and must be removed

Wellness testing:  We recommend and perform wellness screening tests on all patients 10 years and older, and any patient that has lost weight or shows other vague symptoms.  Our patients can't tell us how they are feeling, and many problems can show up on screening tests long before the pet is ill.

Fine needle aspirate cytology:  This diagnostic technique helps us find out more about "lumps" on our patients.  A small needle inserted into the lump, and some cells are pulled into the syringe ("aspirated").  We put these cells on a slide, dry it and stain it.  Then we look at it under a microscope.  Some of the most common skin lumps are lipomas and mast cell tumours.  These can feel identical, but they need to be treated differently:  Lipomas are benign and can be left alone most of the time, whereas mast cell tumours must be removed.  A fine needle aspirate also tells us if the lump is something completely different, like an abscess or a cyst.

Microscopic view of an ear mite from a cat

Ear smears:  In the case of an ear infection, we take some discharge from the ear with a swab.  We stain it and look under a microscope to see what kind of organisms are present.  We also find ear mites this way.

Urine Culture

Skin scrapings:  Skin scrapings are used to collect microscopic  material and look for mites and abnormal cells under the microscope.

Fecal analysis:  Intestinal parasites are seldom seen in stool. Instead, we perform a fecal flotation to separate parasite eggs out of the feces.  These eggs can only be seen with a microscope.

Culture:  We culture urine samples to determine if there is a bacterial infection, and if so, what type. This helps us to determine the correct treatment, and in some cases identifies an infection that we would not otherwise have diagnosed.