Making a correct diagnosis is one of the cornerstones of successful veterinary medicine. Your vet will have the knowledge and experience to make some diagnoses on the basis of a thorough physical examination of your pet, but unfortunately such an examination doesn’t always result in a definitive diagnosis. In these cases further diagnostic work-up is necessary. Parap Veterinary Hospital offers a wide range of additional diagnostics with which we can obtain a diagnosis most of the time.
Blood tests are a good way to diagnose or exclude a large number of diseases. Parap Veterinary Hospital is equipped with machines that can test if there is any damage to one of the internal organs, judge the composition of and measure the concentration of electrolytes in the blood. In general we use these machines to get a ‘basic information panel’ in animals that are sick but for whom we can’t make a diagnosis by means of a physical examination only. In addition to this we use these machines to assess the function of the liver and the kidneys before an animal goes through an anaesthetic or as a routine health check for senior animals. Besides all this we can do tests for a number of hormonal diseases and infectious diseases such as heartworm and parvovirus. If there is a disease suspected that we can’t diagnose with our own equipment, we send off blood to a laboratory which provides the information we need.
Another important way of making a diagnosis is by evaluating the urine of a patient. For instance we have the facilities to check the concentration of a number of substances that will give us information about both the functioning of the urinary tract and some other organ systems. We can check the concentrating ability of the kidneys and we can microscopically check for (bacterial) urinary tract infections. In some cases we collect urine to send off to a laboratory to test which kinds of bacteria are in the urine, for optimal treatment of a urinary infection.
With our excellent radiologic facilities we can take X-rays of any part of your pet’s body if needed. With X-rays it is in fact possible to have a look inside an animal. This gives us an opportunity not only to diagnose bone fractures, but we’ll also be able to see if there is anything causing an obstruction in an animal’s intestines and evaluate the heart and the lungs. sometimes a plain X-ray is not enough. In these cases, a ‘contrast radiograph’, in which a medium is used to outline the object we’re interested in, can help.
An ECG is an excellent way to help us diagnose heart problems. Basically an ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart. Electrical activity is what stimulates the contractions of the heart. We are equipped with a new ECG machine that allows us to visualise an ECG on the computer, make prints and evaluate the different parameters of the ECG.
In case of skin problems we have different options to get to the bottom of it. Often the initial tests will be skin scrapings (to check for skin mites; because mites live deep inside the skin, it is necessary to scrape a small part of the skin until it bleeds, most animals are fairly comfortable with this procedure though) and skin cytology (to check for bacteria and yeast). In some cases we can do intradermal skin testing to diagnose an allergy. Intradermal skin testing is a procedure in which small quantities of the substance to which an allergy is suspected are injected into the skin and the response is evaluated to see if an animal is allergic or not.
We are equipped with a basic ultrasonography instrument. This instrument uses the reflection of sound to make an image of the inside of an animal. We can use this to check if a bitch or queen is pregnant.
It would be too much to list everything, but among others we can take samples of almost every body fluid to culture bacteria and other organisms, we can organise an M.R.I. (three dimensional image of the inside of an animal) to be done and we can check the faeces of an animal for certain parasites.