We can get a lot of valuable information from blood profiles! They're often the first tool we utilise when diagnosing sickness, whether it has occurred acutely or may be reflective of a more chronic condition. Some patients need regular blood tests for monitoring ongoing health conditions, or to assess the efficacy of certain medications.
At MEVV we are well-equipped to evaluate blood profiles in-house, and routinely send more complicated cases away to a veterinary pathology lab for more in-depth reporting and assessment. Typically, we evaluate the following parameters:
- Red blood cells - looking for changes in shape, size and any deficiencies that may suggest anaemia
- White bloods cells - looking for signs of infection or inflammation
- Major organ system function - including the liver, kidneys, pancreas and thyroid, as well as overall systemic health
- Blood glucose
- Cholesterol and other fatty acids
Most pets will go home with a small clipped patch on their neck or leg, as these sites have easily-accessible veins for veterinarians to use. The vast majority of pets tolerate blood draws very well - in some cases, light sedation can be used to reduce stress and make the overall process smoother. Your veterinarian will discuss your options with you on the day.
We call it "liquid gold" for a reason - again, we can get a lot of useful information from urine! The colour, concentration and contents can provide an overview of systemic health, as well as inform us on kidney and bladder function and health.
There are several components to urinalysis. These include:
- Assessing concentration - highly concentrated urine, or highly dilute urine, can tell us a lot about how well-hydrated your pet is, or how well their kidneys are able to concentrate water and other salts and electrolytes
- Evaluating colour - most pets produce clear yellow wee, so any changes in colour can be a sign of an underlying issue
- Looking for the presence of any protein, blood, white cells, unusual cells, crystals or bacteria and other infectious organisms
Tips for acquiring a urine sample at home
ALWAYS collect urine in a clean container! Old Tupperware or takeout containers that have been washed to remove any residual sugar, salt etc. are perfect. Alternatively, our team can provide you with a sterile container - this is the best option for ensuring bacterial contamination of the sample is minimised.
The sooner we can analyse the urine the better! The longer the urine is outside the patient the more prone it is to developing crystals and other sediment that can interfere with the results. We recommend dropping the sample off to us as soon as you can. If this isn't possible, label the container with your pet's full name and the date of collection and pop it in the fridge. We recommend discarding urine that is > 24 hours old and collecting a fresh sample.
Dogs - take your dog out on a lead first thing in the morning, and let them sniff around. As they go to squat or lift their leg, sneak in behind or underneath them and position the container to catch the stream of urine.
Cats - remove all absorbent litter from their tray, and clean it as thoroughly as possible. You can tear up small bits of plastic or use a non-absorbent litter (e.g. CatrineTM) to encourage them to toilet normally. Check the tray regularly, and as soon as you notice a sample, collect it in a clean container.