Pet Diagnostic Testing
We provide a full in-house laboratory that includes Complete Blood Counts, Complete Blood Chemistries, and Thyroid. All in-house tests are completed in 20 minutes or less.
Pet Diagnostic Testing in Chesapeake, VA
We are one of the very first veterinary hospitals in Chesapeake, VA.
We pride ourselves on providing state-of-the-art technology for our animal patients.
Pet Heartworm Testing
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats, and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions, and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.
When should my dog be tested?
All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm infection, and this can usually be done during a routine visit for preventive care. Following are guidelines on testing and timing:
Puppies under 5 months of age can be started on heartworm prevention without a heartworm test (it takes at least 5 months for a dog to test positive after it has been infected) but should be tested at your 10-month visit.
Adult dogs over the age of 5 months that have not previously been on a preventive need to be tested prior to starting heartworm prevention. They, too, need to be tested annually after that. If there has been a lapse in prevention (one or more late or missed doses), dogs should be tested immediately, then tested again annually after that.
Even when dogs are on heartworm prevention year-round, annual testing is necessary to ensure that the prevention program is working. “Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected. Even if you give the medication as recommended, your dog may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill—or rub off a topical medication. Heartworm preventives are highly effective but not 100 percent effective. If you don’t get your dog tested, you won’t know your dog needs treatment.”
When should my cat be tested?
Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs because cats are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms. The preferred method for screening cats includes the use of both an antigen and an antibody test (the “antibody” test detects exposure to heartworm larvae). Your veterinarian may also use x-rays or ultrasound to look for heartworm infection. Cats should be tested before being put on prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate to document continued exposure and risk. Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical.
Pet Wellness Bloodwork
Wellness blood work includes comprehensive chemistry panels as well as complete blood cell counts. This testing examines the size and quantity of the various blood cell types and gives us information on electrolytes and organ function.
The information that is provided gives us baseline levels to work from for your pet when they are healthy. It can also catch issues such as anemia, electrolyte imbalances, decreased organ function, or infection. Wellness blood work is an important diagnostic tool to detect potential kidney disease or diabetes problems before they become too severe.
Pet Urinalysis and Fecal Analysis
Urinalysis is a type of test that checks for levels of specific chemicals within your pet’s urine. Abnormal levels of certain chemicals can be a sign of particular illnesses. The urinalysis screens for imbalances that can be an indication of:
- Kidney Disease
- Kidney Infections
- Bacterial Infections
- Urinary Tract Disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Diabetes Insipidus
- Urinary Bladder Disease
- Auto-Immune Disease
- Cushing’s Disease
- Prostate Disease
- Liver Conditions
Pet Fecal Analysis
Fecal analysis allows us to find these eggs and diagnose a parasitic infection. Sometimes, live worms may also be found. Regularly checking your pet for parasites is important, as many are zoonotic (meaning they can be passed from pet to human), and large infestations can make your pet very ill.
Pet Cytology & Biopsies
Cytology is the microscopic examination of cell samples. It is often used to diagnose growths or masses, assess bodily fluids, or any abnormal fluids that may accumulate, such as around the heart or lungs. There are many ways to collect these cells, but the most common is through fine needle aspiration. This is the insertion of a needle into the area or mass to gather the cells, then spreading the cell sample onto a slide for evaluation. Cell samples can also be acquired by gently scraping the skin, pressing a slide to an ulcerated area, swabbing the area with a cotton swab, or using water to lavage and internal area (such as the nose or throat) and collect cells.
A biopsy is the surgical removal of a tissue sample from the suspected lesion or growth. The biopsy is then processed and examined under a microscope. There are multiple ways to collect a sample, all of which usually involve a local anesthetic.
An entire mass or growth may be removed through surgery and sent in for examination in some cases. This is especially important in suspected cancerous tumors to ensure the entire tumor was removed, reducing the chance of the cancer returning.
Ultrasound is an incredible, non-invasive diagnostic tool. This tool uses a probe that emits high-frequency sound (ultrasound) waves to create a picture of what is inside your pet’s body in real-time.
This allows us to examine blood flow, intestinal health, organ size, and organ function, or even find bladder stones.
Pet Digital Radiology
An X-ray (radiograph) is a non-invasive diagnostic test that aids in diagnosing and treating medical conditions, such as discovering a foreign body, examining a potential fracture, or diagnosing pneumonia. Imaging with X-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.
Our digital machine delivers images in seconds and offers lower exposure to radiation. Our veterinarians can then review these pictures and electronically send them to board-certified radiologists for consultation and review if needed.