FAQ’s About Laboratory Work
By Dr. Karen Burgess
Why should laboratory work be performed on a pet?
There are many reasons to perform testing on a pet, some of the more common include:
- As part of a wellness examination-our goal with annual labwork is to prove that a pet is healthy and not find abnormalities. The idea is to establish a baseline so that if and when a problem develops there is a “normal” reference point to refer back to. This becomes increasingly important with age, thus why it is recommended that senior pets have labwork done twice a year. In some situations a pet may seem healthy and an unknown medical condition may be identified thus allowing earlier intervention and possibly a better prognosis.
- With illness-labwork allows further evaluation of the sick pet in an effort to further isolate the problem, assist with treatment, and provide prognosis.
- Prior to anesthesia-the key to safe anesthesia is to plan ahead. A key component of this is preanesthetic labwork which helps to determine safe drug and dose selection.
How are labwork samples obtained?
Bloodwork is performed on a blood sample. This sample is drawn from a neck or leg vein using a syringe and needle. Urine is either collected in a clean container while a pet is naturally voiding or while being restrained using a syringe and needle.
Where are blood tests performed?
Bloodwork can be done either by an automated analyzer in the hospital providing results within the hour or at a commercial laboratory yielding results within a day or so. Urine evaluation is done by automated analyzers and under the microscope visually. Some samples are also evaluated by trained personnel under the microscope.
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