x-rays are an effective tool in diagnosing various conditions.
- They allow a vet to see a foreign object in the stomach or abdomen and pinpoint the cause of an intestinal obstruction.
- They allow a vet to see bladder stones.
- The shapes and outlines of organs can give clues to the causes of problems.
- X-rays can discover tumours in the chest or abdomen.
- They can show pregnancy (once the mother dog is six weeks pregnant) and even allow a vet to estimate the number of puppies.
- Chest x-rays are very helpful to check for signs of cancer spreading to the lungs or other organs.
- They may help diagnose suspected heart or lung disease.
- They are also a must for pets suffering injuries from major trauma such as being hit by a car to rule out hidden rib fractures or the presence of air in the chest cavity.
- X-rays also help diagnose many orthopedic issues in animals: Fractures and bone deformations are usually easy to see.
- X-rays reveal hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and many other orthopedic disorders, some of which are inherited.
Chest and abdominal x-rays can often be done without sedation. Using barium can make the inner portion of the esophagus and stomach easier to see. Once the dog ingests the barium “milkshake,” it moves through the intestinal tract, where it coats the surfaces making them appear white and easier to detect on a series of x-rays. Tumors, ulcers, and polyps may become visible. Barium also helps determine if there are motility problems.
Many of the internal organs can be scanned non-invasively including liver, kidneys, bowel, spleen, bladder, prostate, uterus, and heart. Information can be obtained on the size and texture of organs, which aids in the diagnosis of disease.
The ultrasound may also be used to guide a minimally invasive biopsy probe that enables collection of tissue samples without the need for large abdominal incisions. Ultrasounds provide the most reliable form of pregnancy diagnosis for dogs and cats.
In addition, Colour Doppler Ultrasound is a technology that allows the measurement of directional blood flow through the heart, as well as blood flow velocity. This information is important in the assessment of some heart defects, especially heart disease of kittens and puppies.
Ultrasound during Pregnancy
Ultrasound pregnancy confirmation is possible as early as day 20-22 after breeding, but can be missed this early. Ultrasound at day 30 post breeding is a great diagnositc tool to confirm pregnancy. Ultrasound has the drawback of not being accurate to count puppies, but can determine heartbearts in the puppies.
Ultrasonography is the ideal modality for evaluating the canine pregnancy for many reasons. You can assess the following easily with most ultrasound machines:
- Foetal Heart Rate (FHR)
- Foetal Movement
Canine foetal heart rates: what’s normal & abnormal?
- The normal foetal heart rate should be >220bpm
- If foetal heart rate is <180 bpm or excessive foetal movement is detected, this is an indicator of foetal distress and hypoxia.
- If foetal heart rate is <160 bpm, immediate surgical intervention is indicated to prevent foetal death!
Ultrasound examinations of the liver and biliary tract is beneficial when the following signs are noted clinically or radiographically: icterus, microhepatica, hepatomegaly, or liver mass.
Indications for ultrasonography of the spleen include radiographic detection of splenomegaly, splenic mass lesions (ruling out hemangiosarcoma and other neoplasms), peritoneal effusion, and potential neoplastic metastasis of mast cell tumor and lymphosarcoma
Renal ultrasound is often indicated, when abnormal size and shape of the kidneys are palpated or abnormal shape, size, and/or opacity are seen on radiographs. In addition, abnormalities in the renal parameters in serum chemistry and urinalysis call for renal ultrasound.
Indications include hematuria, dysuria, and abnormal urine cytology (e.g., transitional cell carcinoma).
The Prostate Gland
Ultrasound study of the prostate is indicated when irregular, asymmetric prostatomegaly is palpated. In addition, a radiographically enlarged prostate should be examined by ultrasound to determine its internal architecture
What is an echocardiogram used for?
An echocardiogram is used as a diagnostic tool, enabling your veterinary sonographer to visualize the structure of your pet’s heart. In doing so, the echocardiogram can provide crucial information about the health and function of her heart that includes:
- How big her heart is
- How thick the walls of her heart are
- The shape of her heart
- How effectively her heart is pumping
- Whether she has any abnormalities in the pattern of blood flow or any possible blood clots
- Whether there are any abnormalities present in the valves
- Whether there are any abnormalities in the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart)
- Whether there are any areas of damage to the heart
An echocardiogram can identify a range of heart problems including, but not limited to:
Congestive heart failure
Congenital (present from birth) heart defects that may require treatment / special care
Damage to the heart, heart valves or pericardium
DEXX VetAutoread Hematology Analyzer offers comprehensive answers in minutes, by providing thorough screening, presurgical testing and general health checkups in-house.
The Complete Blood Count, or CBC, shows the hydration status, anemia, infection, blood clotting ability and immune system response. A CBC is essential for dog that have symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums or loss of appetite. If your dog needs surgery, a CBC can also detect bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities. It is very important to diagnose tick fever based on platelet count.
A Complete Blood Count provides detailed information including:
Hematocrit (HCT): This test measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and hydration
Hemoglobin and mean corpulscular hemoglobin concentration (Hb and MCHC): These are the oxygen-carrying pigments of red blood cells
White blood cell count (WBC): This test measures the body’s immune cells. Increases or decreases in the WBC indicate certain diseases or infections
Granulocytes and lymphocytes/monocytes (GRANS and L/M): These are specific types of white blood cells
Eosinophils (EOS): These are a specific type of white blood cells that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions
Platelet count (PLT): This test measures cells that form blood clots
Reticulocytes (RETICS): These are are immature red blood cells. High levels indicate regenerative anemia
Fibrinogen (FIBR): This test provides important information about blood clotting. High levels may indicate a dog is 30 to 40 days pregnant
Blood serum tests, evaluate a dog’s organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels and more. These tests are important to evaluating the health of older dogs, dogs with signs of vomiting, diarrhea or toxin exposure, as well as dogs receiving long-term medications and general health before anesthesia.
Kidney function test
Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): This test determines kidney function. An increased level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver and heart disease as well as urethral obstruction, shock or dehydration
Creatinine (CREA): This test reveals kidney function and helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN
Liver function test
Total protein: This test indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys and infectious diseases
Albumin (ALB): This is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease
Globulin (GLOB): This is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states
Alanine aminotansferase (ALT): This test may determine active liver damage, but does not indicate the cause
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): Increases in this test may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage
Total bilirubin (TBIL):Elevations in this test may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia
Amylase (AMYL): Elevations in this test indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease
Lipase (LIP): Lipase is an enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis
- Calcium (Ca): Changes in the normal level of this test can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium
- Phosphorus (PHOS): Elevations in this test are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and bleeding disorders
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALKP): Elevations in this test may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease or active bone growth in a young dog
- Sodium (Na):Sodium is an electrolyte often lost with signs of vomiting, diarrhea, kidney disease and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status
- Chloride (Cl):Chloride is an electrolyte that is typically lost with symptoms like vomiting or illnesses such as Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration
- Potassium (K):This is an electrolyte typically lost with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration or urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest
- Cholesterol (CHOL):This test is used to supplement diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus
- Gamma Glutamy transferase (GGT):This is an enzyme that indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess
- Glucose (GLU):Glucose is a blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures or coma
- Thyroxine (T4):Thyroxine is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs
The gas anesthesia machine mixes the anesthetic gas with oxygen and delivers it to your dog via the endotracheal tube. The gas then moves across the lungs until it reaches the alveoli. The gas is then transferred through the alveoli into the bloodstream and onward to the brain, where the state of anesthesia is achieved. To decrease the depth of anesthesia during the procedure or to awaken your dog, the process is reversed.Gas anaesthesia is generally safe in older animals so that we can reduce the anaesthetic risk.