Articles

Diagnosis

  • Antibody titers are sometimes needed to diagnose disease. Antibody titers reflect the level of antibody that the pet has made in response to exposure to a certain infectious organism. The titer is generated by sequentially diluting the serum and testing it against the organism in question. The more dilute the serum when it stops producing a positive reaction, the higher the concentration of antibodies present in the blood. Titers give support to a diagnosis allowing more targeted treatment and more specific prognostic information as well as identifying zoonotic disease.

  • Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive therapy that is used to examine, diagnose, and treat diseases and conditions that affect joints. It requires a specialized piece of equipment called an arthroscope which will allow your veterinarian to look inside the joint using a small fiber optic camera that is hooked up to a monitor. It often requires general anesthesia; however, small incisions in the joint allow for a quicker recovery than traditional methods allow. The recovery time will depend on the extent of the injury, but compared to traditional surgery, recovery time is generally much shorter.

  • Bile acids are made in the liver, released into the intestine to help digest fat, and are reabsorbed into the bloodstream. They can be measured in the blood to determine if the liver is working properly. Indications for the test include elevated liver enzymes, seizures, poor growth, and low blood albumin. The test is usually performed after a 12 hour fast and consists of the measurement of serum bile acids before and 2 hours after a meal. The test can be affected by poor intestinal motility – either from disease, sedation/anesthesia, or if the pet has had part of the intestine removed that is responsible for absorption of bile acids. Bile acids will be high if the liver is not functioning properly. It does not rule out liver disease as disease can affect part of the liver without significantly affecting bile acid production. Elevated bile acids may warrant further diagnostics or monitoring depending on your pet’s condition.

  • Bone marrow is the soft material found in the central core of many bones. Bone marrow is vitally important for the production of blood cells, specifically red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Although many bones contain marrow, samples are collected from three main sites in cats and dogs: hip bone, top of thigh bone, or the forearm below the shoulder.

  • The first step in processing a blood sample is centrifugation. The blood is placed in a centrifuge, where it is spun in a small circle at high speed (much like a spinning ride at an amusement park).

  • Cerebrospinal fluid (or CSF) is formed within the brain, primarily at specialized sites called the choroid plexuses. CSF is found within the brain and in the space that surrounds both the brain and the spinal cord (this space is called the subarachnoid space).

  • Coagulation is the series of events that result in the formation of a clot. In the body, coagulation occurs after any injury to a blood vessel or tissue, in order to stop bleeding.

  • The complete blood count (CBC) assesses different parameters of the cells in the blood including total number, appearance, size, and shape. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets comprise the cellular component of the blood. Changes in the red blood cells can affect oxygen delivery from the lungs to the blood. Changes in the white blood cells can indicate infection, inflammation, and cancer. Platelets are needed for adequate blood clotting so decreased numbers can raise concern for spontaneous bleeding.

  • A Coombs' (or direct antiglobulin) test detects the presence of immunoglobulins (antibodies) on the surface of red blood cells. Immunoglobulins are proteins made by white blood cells (specifically plasma cells).

  • Cushing's disease is a condition caused by an increased production of the stress hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands. There are various reasons for an increase in cortisol production. The clinical signs of Cushing's disease are similar, regardless of the underlying cause of disease. However, it is important to try to identify the type of Cushing's disease as the treatment and prognosis (outcome) differ slightly depending upon the form of the disease.