Feline Lab Services Laboratory tests are an important aid in making a diagnosis in cases where a good history and a thorough physical exam don’t yield enough information to diagnose what is ailing you cat.
There are too many lab tests available to list here, therefore I will give just a brief overview of the lab services that we provide in our hospital lab and those that are available thought the outside diagnostic labs whose services we utilize.
In our office we have the equipment necessary to perform some commonly used blood tests that will aid in the diagnosis of acutely and critically ill patients. For example, a CBC or a complete blood count is used to evaluate red and white blood cells and platelets. We also perform chemistry profiles in our office to evaluate organ functions e.g. liver, kidney, blood sugar and electrolytes. More sophisticated and comprehensive versions of these tests can be run by our outside diagnostic lab with a rapid turnaround time of approximately 24 hours.
We also have the capability of doing some immunologic tests in our office to diagnose specific infectious diseases. The best examples of these tests are the feline leukemia and feline aids virus tests. However, many other tests for specific infectious deceases can be performed by the outside diagnostic labs that we utilize. Turnaround times for these specialized tests vary considerably.
Urinalysis and Urine Culture
Urinalysis and urine culture are tests that are frequently and expertly performed in our office laboratory thus insuring prompt and accurate results. A more comprehensive urine culture is available through our outside diagnostic lab but turnaround times are usually 3 – 6 days.
Stool samples are often checked for worms and one celled parasites, for example Giardia and Coccidia, in our office lab. Much less often, stool samples are sent out to a diagnostic lab to identify uncommon parasites or to perform specialized stool cultures.
Cytology and Histopathology
Cytology, the examination of cells and histopathology, the examination of tissues is performed by professional pathologists employed by outside diagnostic labs on samples that we send to them.
Cytology specimens are obtained by our doctors by placing needles in growths or cysts and aspirating to obtain specimens of cells involved. Cytology specimens can also be obtained by placing a needle in the chest or abdomen to withdraw samples of abnormal fluid accumulation in these cavities. Turnaround time for these samples is usually 48 hours.