Laboratory and 

Diagnostic Services

Radiology

An x-rays examination provides valuable information about your pet’s skeletal structure, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We routinely use digital radiography to help identify the cause of medical issues, or to rule out potential problems.

Radiology can be used alone, but is generally used in conjunction with other diagnostic methods. Interpretation of x-rays is completed by experienced Cabbagetown Pet Clinic team members who are trained in the latest radiological education.

To create a sharp, concise image, pets need to remain motionless while the x-ray is administered. In some cases, we may need to sedate your pet or use short-acting general anesthesia to advance the process.

Ultrasound

Ultrasonography (also called ultrasound or sonography) is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that incorporates sound waves to examine internal organs and structures of the body. It can be used to evaluate the animal’s heart, kidneys, and liver (among other internal organs) to detect excess fluid, cysts, tumors, or abscesses, and confirm pregnancy or monitor an ongoing pregnancy.

We may use this imaging technique in conjunction with radiography (x-rays) and other diagnostic methods to ensure a proper diagnosis.

The ultrasound technician applies gel to the surface of your pet and then methodically moves a transducer (a small handheld tool) across the skin to record images of the area of interest. The gel helps the transducer slide more easily and create a more accurate visual image.

The transducer emits ultrasonic sound waves that create echoes of varying degrees depending on the density of the tissue and amount of fluid present. Those waves create detailed images of the structures, which are shown on a monitor and recorded for evaluation.

Ultrasound does not involve radiation, has no known side effects and doesn’t typically require pets to be sedated or anesthetized. The hair in the area to be examined usually needs to be shaved to obtain the best results.

Tonometry

It is important for your pet’s vision that we detect and treat glaucoma and other problems

in a timely fashion.

To do this, we can execute a test to check your animals’ eyes for intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye). The test is performed with a device called a tonometer – it is not painful and does not require sedation.

If not treated immediately (within hours to days), glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Pets that have suffered eye injuries should have this test performed.

In addition, we recommend that breeds that are prone to developing glaucoma come in to our vet clinic for regular measurements so we can monitor eye pressure and begin treatment before any problem becomes irreversible.

Call us immediately if you notice any of the following problems in one or both of your pet’s eyes:

  • dilated (enlarged) pupils
  • clouding of the cornea (the normally clear outer layer of the eye)
  • red or bloodshot eyes
  • one eye protruding or appearing larger than the other
  • excessive squinting or tearing

Because glaucoma is painful, your pet may react by rubbing or pawing at the eyes or rubbing his or her head against the floor or furniture more than normal.

Laparoscopy and Endoscopy

This minimally invasive procedure is commonly used to examine the inside of the ears, nose, esophagus, colon, bladder, stomach, and other internal organs.

To perform this procedure, the veterinarian inserts an endoscope – a long tube with a camera at one end – into the area to be examined. Incisions are sometimes required, however, the openings used for endoscopic procedures are considerably smaller than those used in traditional surgery. This means a much less painful and quicker recovery for your pet.

With this ability, we can take biopsies (tissue samples) without having to perform surgery. These procedures can also be used to assist with minimally invasive surgeries and is particularly valuable in retrieving swallowed items.

Endoscopy and laparoscopy procedures do require that your pet be placed under anesthesia. As with all such procedures, we follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure his or her safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.

Endocrinology

Identifying early endocrine issues in your pet is very important. These serious, potentially life-threatening conditions are more manageable when caught early, allowing us to begin proper treatment.

The endocrine system is made up of a group of tissues (mostly glands) that release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism, growth, development, and reproduction and are distributed to different areas of the body. When a hormonal balance is disturbed (ie. by a tumor or autoimmune disease), an endocrine disorder can develop. “Hyper” refers to an excess of hormone, and “hypo” refers to a deficiency in a hormone.

Treatment varies depending on the disease.

There are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats:

  • Diabetes Mellitus is caused by a deficiency or, resistance to, insulin.
  • Hypothyroidism – often diagnosed in dogs – indicates that the animal has low levels of thyroid hormones.
  • Hyperthyroidism – which frequently affects cats – indicates that the animal has high levels of thyroid hormones.
  • Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) can also affect both species, although Cushing’s disease is rare in cats.

Book an appointment with us if your pet begins panting excessively, develops any skin issues (such as hair loss), or shows changes in behaviour, energy levels, appetite, weight, water consumption, or urination.

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