This involves a physical exam and diagnostics tests to get to the bottom of your concern for your pet.

Blood Work:
A sample of your pet’s blood can offer a plethora of information beyond what you and your vet are observing. It is a window into your pet’s internal organs to see how they are holding up. The testing options are endless but here are a few of the basic tests the doctors at WCVS run on a regular basis. Sometimes finding normal values is just as valuable because this helps to rule out certain diagnoses.

  • Complete blood count (CBC): This gives a count and differential of the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • Chemistry panel: Depending on the length of the panel, it will give us various results telling us about your pet’s kidney and liver function, glucose, proteins, and electrolytes.
  • Thyroid test
  • 4DX: This a test for heartworms and tick borne diseases such as Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Lyme.
  • Fructosamine: This is an test we will add on sometimes when we are exploring the possibility of diabetes.

A sample of urine can tell us if there is an infection, evidence of kidney disease or diabetes, and also if there are crystals or abnormal cells that may be leading to your pet’s clinical signs.

Fecal flotation:
A stool sample is a great way to look for internal parasites. Is your pet experiencing any diarrhea? Be sure to grab a sample when you bring your pet in to see us!

Radiographs (X-rays):
This type of imaging shows a picture of the inside of your pet. It offers information such as: organ size, shape, and orientation to neighboring organs, bone integrity and placement, patterns of disease in the lungs, gas patterns in the gastrointestinal system, and more. Contrast studies where we syringe barium to your pet are also helpful when we suspect an obstruction, such as when a pet eats a foreign object.

Cytology is the study of cells. It offers a great insight as to what is happening in a disease process. We can do a tape prep of skin or an ear swab to see what type of bacteria, yeast, and cells your pet me have affecting them. Pets have a great tendency to get growths on, within, or under the skin. You will notice that during our physical exam, we try to feel them all over to look for these growths. A fine needle aspirate is where we put a needle into the growth so that we can extract some cells. It is non-invasive and quick. Depending on what our doctor thinks of the growth, we may stain it and look at it in the clinic or we may send it to our outside laboratory.

Dr. Hochstedler offers ultrasound examinations at the Greencastle location. Ultrasound provides look at your pet’s organs. It uses sound waves to create an image on a computer allowing us to evaluate each of the major abdominal organs. It is a great tool in addition to the radiographs when we are tracking down the cause of diseases in animals.