When your pet is sick, you don’t want to wait days for test results, or travel to another clinic for answers. While some pets will still need a referral for specialized care or advanced imaging, our Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team has a full in-house diagnostic suite at their disposal that allows faster diagnosis and treatment for your pet’s problem. Here is an overview of our diagnostic capabilities, and how they can benefit your pet’s care.
In-house veterinary diagnostic laboratory
Our diagnostic laboratory is set up to run basic and extended blood panels, urinalyses, and microscopic cell and tissue evaluations. We will first recommend blood work for a sick pet, because combined with urinalysis, that provides valuable information about your pet’s current health status. While we can send blood work to our outside laboratory, results take around 24 hours, which is too long in many cases. With our in-house laboratory results, we can formulate your pet’s treatment plan right away.
In-house blood and urine tests can reveal the following:
- Kidney, liver, and pancreatic function
- Electrolyte levels
- Hydration status
- Infection signs
- Inflammation signs
- Blood clotting abilities
In-house veterinary X-ray
X-ray is an imaging technique that uses radiation to produce a two-dimensional image of your pet. Most people equate X-rays with bone injuries, but they can also show the outline and density of your pet’s abdominal organs, heart, and lungs. Plus, X-ray imaging helps us identify masses, foreign objects, fluid collections, soft tissue swelling, bladder or kidney stones, abnormal intestinal gas patterns, and small, enlarged, or misplaced organs, in addition to its common use for fractures and dislocations.
In-house veterinary ultrasound
While X-ray produces a static image, ultrasound can help us look inside your pet with real-time, moving images. The ultrasound machine produces sound waves that reflect back from different tissues to produce an image in black, white, and shades of gray, based on tissue density. The image is more like a video than the X-ray’s snapshot, and our team can move and glide the transducer into different positions to view tissues at different angles. Ultrasound can also detect blood flow, velocity, and direction, which is vital for evaluating certain organs.
Ultrasound can also help with:
- Identifying free fluid or fluid inside organs
- Measuring organ size and wall thickness
- Collecting urine from the bladder
- Collecting needle biopsies
- Identifying masses
- Evaluating eye structure
- Evaluating joints, muscles, and ligaments
In-house veterinary cardiology consultation and echocardiogram
Pets with a new heart murmur or suspected heart disease should visit a cardiologist for diagnosis and treatment. A cardiologist may use chest X-rays, blood pressure testing, EKG testing, and a heart ultrasound (i.e., echocardiogram) to evaluate your pet’s heart structure and function and formulate a treatment plan. While this is not typically an urgent situation, we are proud to partner with a traveling cardiologist who can provide this service to our patients in-house, without the need to wait for an appointment at an outside referral facility. The cardiologist works closely with our veterinarians to provide seamless specialty care and follow-ups for your pet.
When in-house diagnostics are most beneficial for your pet
For routine wellness screenings, medication monitoring, minor illness, or specialized tests, we may choose to send your pet’s test to the outside laboratory rather than running them in-house. But, in-house tests are beneficial for sick pets who present with the following signs:
- Poor appetite
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Increased drinking or urinating
- Tremors or seizures
- Skin or ear conditions
- Behavior changes
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
Advanced veterinary imaging and diagnostic referrals
Most of the time, we can use our extensive knowledge and in-house diagnostic equipment to diagnose and treat your pet’s problem. We may sometimes recommend a referral facility for your pet for urgent care, or for an appointment for advanced imaging or specialty care if we are concerned about cancer, neurologic conditions, endocrine disease, eye problems, or other complex conditions or injuries.
The Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team wants your pet to feel better fast. Our in-house diagnostics allow us to stay on the cutting edge of veterinary care, and to leverage technology to your pet’s benefit. Contact us to learn more about our diagnostic services and the conditions we can treat during our extended urgent care hours, or to schedule a routine visit.
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