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Complete Blood Count (CBC)
The CBC tests for anemia, infection, inflammation, and overall healthiness of the blood cells. It also evaluates the number and type of cells in circulation. White Blood Cells (WBC's) help fight infection or inflammation. Red Blood Cells (RBC's) carry oxygen to the tissues.
The chemistry panel surveys many of the organ systems of the body to make sure they are working normally.
Liver (AST, ALT, Alk. Phos, T. Bilirubin, GGT, Cholesterol, Proteins)
This group of tests helps evaluate various functions and health of the liver. Decreased liver function, inflammation, infection and neoplasia (abnormal growth of cells) of the liver and gall bladder may be detected by one or all of these tests.
Kidney (BUN, Creatinine, Phosphorus, Amylase, Albumin, Globulin)
These tests monitor the function and health of the kidneys. They are the most helpful and sensitive for detecting kidney disease when combined with a urinalysis.
Pancreas (Glucose, Amylase, Lipase, Triglyceride)
These tests are abnormal when there is something wrong with the pancreas or carbohydrate metabolism (examples are diabetes mellitus and pancreatitis).
Muscle and Bone
Calcium and Phosphorus are helpful in determining the health of bone metabolism.
CPK and AST are abnormal with muscle damage, trauma, or inflammation.
Electroloytes (Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus) are important in monitoring the electrical, water balance, and cellular health of the body. Deficiencies or excesses of these electrolytes are harmful to the animal's physical and mental well-being.
Thyroid Function Tests
As the name implies, these tests are useful in diagnosing malfunctions of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) is common in dogs; whereas hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) is common in older cats. Because there is no single thyroid test that can diagnose all thyroid diseases in animals, a panel of several different thyroid tests is used to ensure proper diagnosis.
The urine sample is tested for several chemical components (glucose, protein, blood, and more), as well as any cells (WBC, RBC, epithelial, etc.) and crystals. Urinalysis helps detect urinary tract infection, diabetes, and kidney failure.
The urine specimen is plated on agar plates and incubated for 24 to 48 hours to allow any bacteria that may be present to grow. Any infection-causing bacteria are further tested to determine what antibiotics are effective for treatment.
A sample of stool is examined to look for hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, coccidia, Girardia and other intestinal parasites.
Serum is tested for the presence of heartworm on an annual basis. Whole blood can also be examined in anemic animals for other parasites, such as Babesia, Hemobartonella, or Cytauxzoon.