When a patient enters our hospital showing signs of illness, it’s necessary to run tests or perform certain procedures to establish either a definitive diagnosis or at least determine the severity of the problem.
One of the first diagnostic tools we’ll use are in-house blood tests. We can check vital organ functions in a matter of minutes and determine if there’s some type of blood loss. In cats we may check for feline leukemia and the aids virus. Once we’ve run the blood tests needed here in-hospital, we may send out additional blood samples to test for other diseases or metabolic disorders For patients that may appear healthy, running routine blood work enables us to pick up early changes that occur in kidney or liver disease, diabetes, anemia, thyroid disease or a host of other problems.
Another important diagnostic tool is radiography. Taking x-rays and analyzing them immediately often helps us to determine the seriousness of the situation. Are there broken bones, arthritis of the hips, a foreign object in the stomach, fluid in the lungs, stones in the bladder, a tumor somewhere? We use digital radiography at Noah’s Ark. It has the advantage of being fast, safe (low-dose radiation) and very precise. When necessary, x-rays can be emailed to a specialist for further evaluation.
Other diagnostic tools we utilize on a daily basis include urinalysis, fecal testing for parasites, ear and skin slides (checking for infection or mites) and fine-needle aspirates (to evaluate lumps and growths for signs of infection, inflammation or cancer). For evaluating patients’ eyes we use a scope that checks for glaucoma. If we suspect high blood pressure we can easily check for it, and if we suspect a heart condition we may run an ECG to evaluate the electrical activity of the heart.
When making a reliable diagnosis we often rely on various means to achieve that goal. At Noah’s Ark we use state-of the-art equipment as we strive to make our sick patients better and prevent our healthy patients from developing serious conditions or ailments.