Heritage animal hospital

Veterinary Wellness Blog

The ABCs of Lab Testing Part 3

There are a lot of acronyms used in the medical field.  One area where we use abbreviations frequently is with the blood work and laboratory tests we run.  In this three part series of blogs, we will look at some of the different abbreviations and acronyms we use so you can speak the lingo with us!

In this third part of the series, we will discuss other miscellaneous tests we use in veterinary medicine.

One of the more common additional tests we use is the T4, or thyroid test.  Dogs tend to get a low T4 as they age, and this can cause changes in weight, appetite, and haircoat.  Cats on the other hand, tend to get an elevated T4, which can cause vomiting, weight loss, increased appetite, increased vocalization, and/or increased activity level.  Thyroid function is important for metabolism, but can also cause heart, skin, or GI tract issues when not in the normal range.

Another very common test we perform is the urinalysis, or UA.  This test looks at the specific gravity (concentration) of the urine, checks for sugar or ketones in the urine indicating diabetes, as well as looking for red or white blood cells, bacteria, crystals, and pH.  It can show things such as possible bladder stones, urinary tract infections (UTI), crystaluria, or poor kidney function.

If we are seeing a lot of bacteria in a UA, we may recommend a C&S, or culture and sensitivity.  We may also recommend this for wounds, ear infections, or other infections.  This test takes a sample of bacteria and grows it to determine which type of bacteria(s) it is, and which antibiotics would work best for treating it.  This test is not done every single time, but in cases that are complex or have not responded to treatment, we may recommend this.

Still another test we may recommend is the ACTH stimulation or ACTH stim test.  This test is to look for Addison’s or Cushing’s disease.  These are diseases where the adrenal glands are not performing correctly.  Addison’s disease usually presents with vomiting, diarrhea, and general malaise, whereas Cushing’s disease usually presents with increased thirst and urination, increased panting, increased appetite, and/or increase in weight.  Changes on the chemistry profile may make the doctor want to run this additional test.

Overall, the veterinary field is full of acronyms and abbreviations.  Hopefully now you have a slightly better understanding of some of the more common tests we recommend and why we perform them.  If you have questions about any of these, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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12624 Base Lake Road
Maple Grove, MN 55369

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Mon-Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sat: 7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.