Laboratory Diagnostics


Blood Work: CBC and Chemistry Panel

Adapted from : VP Client Information Sheets Authored by: Becky Lundgren, DVM

Veterinary Partner’s Pet Owner’s Info on Blood work

What does it mean when your veterinarian says she needs to run some blood work on your pet? Blood work and UA – pre-surgical or otherwise – is usually a combination of a complete blood count (CBC) and a blood chemical analysis, as well as urinalysis. Blood work is a basic evaluation tool. Ideally pets, particularly senior ones, should have a CBC and at least a mini chem panel at every annual examination. Blood work allows a veterinarian to monitor the progression of a pet’s disease, or diagnose diseases that are hidden in apparently healthy looking pets.

When the blood sample is drawn from your pet, both the cells and the fluid they “travel” in are examined.

The CBC – Complete Blood Count:

The cell part of the blood is examined in the CBC. The CBC determines the number of erythrocytes (red blood cells), the number and type of leukocytes (white blood cells), the number of platelets (thrombocytes), the hemoglobin level, and the hematocrit (packed cell volume, PCV). A CBC can tell your veterinarian if your pet has an unusual number of erythrocytes (anemia, polycythemia), leukocytes (leukopenia, leukocytosis), or platelets (thrombocytopenia).

  • Red blood Cells carry oxygen throughout the body.
  • The Hemoglobin level tells us how well the RBC’s carry the oxygen.
  • The PCV tells how much blood is in the body compared to the fluid. This tells us about hydration and anemia.
  • White blood cells fight infection and are part of the immune system. There are 5 different kinds, each doing a different job: neutrophils, lymphocytes, basophils, eosinophils, and monocytes.
  • Platelets are clotting proteins and indicate how fast your pet’s blood can clot; slow clotting can be a serious problem.

The UA – Urinalysis:

While we sometimes think of it just for urinary tract infections, urine tests can provide diagnostic information about a number of diseases. The collection method is important for this test because it may depend on what disease is suspected. Urine can be caught in a cup during urination or by placing a needle directly into the bladder (cystocentesis, which isn’t as bad as it sounds), or even with a catheter.

Lab4The chemistry panel (blood chem, chemistry screen):

Tests kidney function, liver function, electrolyte levels, etc. Blood chemistries are run on the fluid in the blood sample. (The CBC is the examination of the cells in the blood sample.)

We have a complete set of laboratory machines right on site that can quickly test our most critical animals. Chemistries are usually available with in a half hour. We also uses a wide list of outside labs for additional testing when necessary. Our main outside lab is ANETCH DIAGNOSTICS

Antech Diagnostics – Blood Analysis and Testing

The chemistry panel usually includes the following tests: alkaline phosphatase (SAP, ALP), alanine transaminase (alanine aminotransferase, ALT), bilirubin total (T Bili), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, creatine kinase (CK, CPK), sodium, potassium, glucose, total protein, albumin, etc. Alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, bilirubin, and albumin give your veterinarian information about the pet’s liver function. Blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and creatine kinase tell your veterinarian how well your pet’s kidneys are functioning.

Lab5We also use many of the veterinary schools university labs all over the USA.

  • Thyroid testing: TT4 and FT4 are often needed to determine if your pet has Hypothyroidism (which is especially common in overweight dogs or dogs with skin problems)or Hyperthyroidism (which is common in older cats).
  • Cushings Testing: Cortisols, estrogens, testosterones are secreted by the adrenal glands. Many older dogs can show signs of Cushings disease or Atypical Cushings disease.
  • Cholesterol: As it is in people, cholesterol is a fat. Unlike in people, it doesn’t contribute to heart disease in dogs and cats. Increased cholesterol is less common in cats than in dogs. Several diseases (diabetes, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s, or kidney disease) can elevate cholesterol levels.
  • Bile Acids: While other liver tests are more for overall health of the liver, the Bile Acids Test is a liver function test. Many dogs may have normal liver blood chemistries but still have abnormal functioning livers. Bile acids help break down fat. Because these acids are produced in the liver, a bile acid test evaluates both the liver itself and the blood flow to it. Typically, bile acid tests are run pre-prandially (before eating), and post-prandially (two hours after eating).

Dentistry and Professional Cleaning


Dental Care – Makes your pet feel better, not just look and smell better.

Dental disease is an extremely important condition that affects the quality and longevity of most pets’ lives. Dental disease affects not only teeth; it can cause sores in the mouth and provide a potential source of infection to important organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.

Dental disease causes pain and discomfort. Pets instinctively hide pain, so often we don’t realize the extent of their dental disease and the discomfort it is causing them. Signs of mouth pain include increased or excessive drooling, decreased appetite, slow eating, face rubbing, and decreased interest in chewing on toys or treats.



ProCleaning4We are very excited to announce our Digital Dental Xray machine. We now have a wonderful way to complete our comprehensive dental care for our pets.

We can’t treat what we can’t see, but your pet can certainly feel when something is wrong!




ProCleaning5We can assess all the teeth in the mouth, looking at the roots and the bone surrounding the tooth to see if more treatment is needed.

We are sure your pets will appreciate it.





February is National Pet Dental Health Month 10% off Dental Cleanings

Remember – Dental cleaning doesn’t just make your pet look and smell better! It makes your pet FEEL better.

How to brush your pet’s teeth – February Pet Dental Health Month





What Causes Dental Disease

Plaque naturally forms on the teeth. If plaque is not removed regularly through good preventative care, mineral salts in food bind to the plaque to form hard calculus. The calculus is irritating to the gum tissue, and it changes the pH of the mouth, allowing bacteria to survive below the gum line. By-products of the bacteria eat away tooth support structures. If your pets have bad breath, it is most often caused by the bacterial build-up on their teeth. Even if the teeth look fine to you, bad breath can be a sign that bacteria is growing under the gum line where you can’t see.


These are the four stages of periodontal disease:

  • Stage 1- gingivitis
  • Stage 2- early periodontitis-less than 25% support loss
  • Stage 3- established periodontitis- between 25-50% support loss
  • Stage 4- advanced periodontitis- greater than 50% support loss

Below is a link related to dental health and disease.
Periodontal Disease in Pets

Digital Xray


Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging (Xray and Ultrasound)
Adapted from: VP Client Information Sheets by John Daugherty, DVM

DigitalXray1Imaging in veterinary medicine has advanced greatly since the first radiographs (x-rays) were taken of pets just decades ago. Now there is a multitude of imaging tests available to help diagnose and treat diseases in our pets. These tests include radiography (x-rays), ultrasound, CT (or CAT) scans, and MRI scans. Each of these tests has its own advantages and disadvantages, and will provide the veterinarian with different information. Radiographs and Ultrasound are available at The Animal Hospital, but CT and MRI scans are only performed by specialists in large referral practices.


A radiograph, commonly called an x-ray, is a black and white two-dimensional image of the interior of a body. An image is generated by passing radiation through a particular structure or area, such as the chest or a limb, and the image is then captured. The traditional way of recording the image is on specific x-ray film that senses how much radiation passes through the structure and reaches the film, much like photographic film captures light. The denser a tissue is (such as bone), the whiter the image is on the film. Less dense structures, such as air in the lungs, allow almost all of the x-ray energy to pass through to the film, turning that area black.

DigitalXray2Radiography is the most common and readily available imaging test in veterinary practice. It is used to evaluate the size and shape of organs such as the heart and lungs, as well as to demonstrate fractures (broken bones), some foreign objects, fluid accumulations, and many more abnormalities that may aid in diagnosis. It is also the most affordable imaging test, and is most often done prior to any of the other imaging options.It cannot see everything however and ultrasound is often necessary to get a deeper understanding of disease.

Green Valley Animal Hospital has upgraded to digital radiography. The principles are similar, but the images are captured on a digital recording device and displayed on a computer screen. No x-ray film is used. These images are easy to store as well as to transmit to other hospitals, or to copy to send home with you the pet owner.

The advantages of digital radiographs over regular films are eminence. Digital xray allows our doctors to change the contrast on a picture so that soft tissue and bones can be looked at in a different light – so to speak. Basically digital xrays allow us to have much more information and detail than plain film.



Unlike radiographs, no radiation is used in an ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves. The ultrasound waves move out from the wand and either become absorbed into organs, pass through them, or are reflected (echo) back. Depending on how many sound waves are absorbed or reflected, an image of the internal organs is formed that can be seen on a monitor.

Ultrasound2Ultrasound is painless and does not require anesthesia or even sedation in most cases. For an ultrasound evaluation to be done, the pet needs to have the hair shaved from the area to be evaluated, as hair will interfere with the images.

This test is typically done after blood tests, x-rays, or a physical examination indicates a possible problem. It is useful for evaluating things like abdominal organs and the reproductive system. As with people, it can be used during pregnancies. There is a specific ultrasound called an echocardiogram that is used to visualize the heart and blood vessels as well as the valves of the heart.

Ultrasound can “see” some things that can’t be visualized on radiographs. For example, if the abdomen is filled with fluid, the organs can’t be distinguished on traditional x-rays because fluid and tissue have the same density. However, they appear quite different from each other on an ultrasound image, so we can see through the fluid. It is also useful, for the same reason, for seeing inside an organ such as the heart or liver. An xray may show the outline of an organ the the ultrasound looks inside to see if there are problems not seen on the xray.
Ultrasound, on the other hand, it is not good at seeing through air or bone, so it does not replace radiography but rather is complementary to the information we can get from radiographs. It is common to do both x-rays and ultrasound in order to get a complete picture of what is going on with a patient.