Flow cytometry is a laboratory technique that can be used for counting, examining, and sorting cells. The sample is passed through a light source and as the cells move through the path of the light source, they scatter the light. The scattered light is captured by lenses, translated into an electrical signal, and is then analyzed and displayed as a graphical representation of the cell populations within the sample. Flow cytometry is used to count and group cells within a blood sample. It is also used in the characterization of cellular subpopulations; for example, to distinguish between benign and malignant lymphocytes.
A Holter monitor is a portable device used to monitor the electrical activity of the heart continuously and can be an effective and non-invasive way to help your veterinarian evaluate heart conditions especially when trying to determine the cause of fainting episodes or evaluate treatment. Many cats are not bothered by it and ignore its presence.
The term hypercalcemia is used when the level of calcium in the blood is higher than normal. Calcium levels are controlled by a pair of parathyroid glands. High calcium levels may signal the presence of serious underlying disease including kidney failure, adrenal gland failure, a parathyroid gland tumor, and some types of cancer. Pets with hypercalcemia may show signs of weakness, listlessness, increased drinking and urination, and loss of appetite. Your veterinarian will perform diagnostic tests which may include total calcium, ionized calcium, albumin, and parathyroid hormone levels.
Pets that have been diagnosed with epilepsy are usually prescribed one or more medications to prevent convulsions or seizures. Careful monitoring of epileptic pets is necessary, not only to make sure the dose of the medicine is right, but also to ensure there are no problems related to the long-term use of the medication. The most important thing to do is follow your veterinarian's instructions closely and give the medication regularly and consistently. This will ensure that the value reported on the blood test is reliable.
Pancreatitis is a disease caused by inflammation of the pancreas. In the cat, inflammation of the pancreas is often part of a larger inflammatory condition that typically involves the liver and intestine, as well as the pancreas. Clinical signs are often vague and non-specific, and include lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss, and dehydration. Pancreas-specific lipase is a form of lipase produced only in the pancreas. It is highly specific to the pancreas and blood values increase only when there is pancreatic inflammation.
Pre-anesthetic testing is the best way to minimize anesthetic risks and ensure good surgical outcomes. Pre-anesthetic testing consists of, at minimum, a full physical examination. Depending on the patient and the reason for anesthesia, blood testing including CBC and biochemistry is often recommended and additional testing such as urinalysis, radiographs, EKG or more advanced testing may be needed. The results of pre-anesthetic testing are used to formulate the safest anesthetic plan for your pet.
Having your pet properly prepared for a blood test helps to ensure that the results are as accurate and reliable as possible. Preparation for these two types of tests is slightly different. Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions before your appointment. It is important that you follow these instructions exactly to ensure accurate test results.
X-ray images are produced by directing X-rays through a part of the body towards an absorptive surface such as an X-ray film. The image is produced by the differing energy absorption of various parts of the body: bones are the most absorptive and leave a white image on the screen whereas soft tissue absorbs varying degrees of energy depending on their density producing shades of gray on the image; while air is black. X-rays are a common diagnostic tool used for many purposes including evaluating heart size, looking for abnormal soft tissue or fluid in the lungs, assessment of organ size and shape, identifying foreign bodies, assessing orthopedic disease by looking for bone and joint abnormalities, and assessing dental disease.
Adrenocorticotropic hormone is produced in the brain and regulates the production of cortisol. When blood cortisol levels are low it is secreted to stimulate more production and when cortisol is high it will suppress the production of ACTH. Cushing’s disease caused by a pituitary tumor will result in elevated ACTH levels in the blood, whereas Cushing’s disease caused by an adrenal tumor will result in lower ACTH blood levels as production will be suppressed by the cortisol released from the adrenal tumor. Endogenous ACTH cannot be used alone to diagnose Cushing’s disease, but can help determine what type of Cushing’s disease the patient has.
Serum biochemistry measures the amount of enzymes, proteins, sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and hormones found in the liquid portion of the blood. Determining the amount of these factors in the blood can provide evidence of dysfunction or disease in certain organs or metabolic pathways indicative of certain diseases. This article provides general information on the most routinely measured factors in serum and common reasons for abnormal readings.