Urinalysis is a vital link in finding the cause of urinary problems. It allows us to check whether an infection is present, whether the kidneys are working correctly and whether crystals are present that can cause urinary tract irritation.
In addition, it is an essential complement to a blood test. For example, incipient kidney wear and tear will be more likely to be detected in urine than in blood. A urine sample also shows the extent to which the urine is concentrated and can be conclusive about diabetes.
For the above reasons, the urinalysis, in addition to a clinical examination, is a good way to screen your pet’s health, for example if an operation is planned, or if he is getting a year older.
We often prefer morning urine. After all, it best reflects the extent to which the kidneys are able to concentrate urine.
Collecting a urine sample from a dog seems very simple but it is not always so. Collecting urine from a cat seems even less feasible. Fortunately, there are special granules that can replace cat litter and do not affect the composition of urine. Actually, the preferred method of urine collection is direct puncture of the bladder. This sounds terribly painful, but it is not. Pussies, for example, react extremely little to this. The requirement, of course, is that urine is present in the bladder. Big advantage of this method is that the urine is pure, with no ulceration of the urethra or prostate.
The practice is equipped to perform a basic urine test. This allows us to measure the density of the urine, examine the sediment of the urine for crystals, among other things, and check for protein and sugar loss. Sometimes it is necessary to send the urine to the laboratory for culture to confirm or rule out a bacterial infection of the bladder.
Blood tests can be carried out for various reasons: to find the cause of illness, to monitor a disease process, to detect health problems before you notice them as an owner, to determine the optimal mating time for a bitch, to know the cause of an allergy, or sometimes as part of the legal requirements to travel with your pet.
For most blood tests, your animal must be sober, meaning that you should not feed it any food for the 12 hours prior to the blood draw. Drinking water is not a problem.
Thanks to our blood analysis equipment, we can perform most examinations in the practice.
For specific tests, we send the blood to an external laboratory.
A limited number of tests are done through CODA and the WIV (former Pasteur Institute).
To find the cause of an allergy, we cooperate with a reliable lab in the Netherlands.
Manure examination is mainly performed to check whether parasites are present in the manure. We usually prefer to examine a mixed sample of several days, as some parasites are not continuously excreted in the manure.
In addition, certain bacteria and viruses can be detected in the manure and it is possible to check whether there is blood loss through the manure (is not always visible to the naked eye) and how the digestion is going.
The practice is equipped with an excellent microscope that can magnify up to 1000x. Of course, this highest magnification is not always necessary. Detecting skin parasites or viewing hairs is usually done at a smaller magnification.
If we want to retrieve cells, bacteria, yeasts or certain small parasites, we use the immersion lens at the highest magnification. This is necessary when viewing an impression or scraping off the skin and thin needle aspirates.
If a mass can be felt somewhere, we often take a thin needle aspirate. This involves collecting cells with a thin needle. This is not painful so the sample can simply be taken from an awake animal during a consultation. These samples are then stained and examined under the microscope. This way, we can often distinguish between an infection and a tumour. In some cases, we can even determine the nature of a tumour. Such needle biopsies can also be taken from internal organs in some cases.
Although thin needle aspirates are easy to take without significant discomfort to the animal and can provide particularly valuable information, this technique also has its limitations. After all, you only collect cells, which means you lose the architecture of the mass.
In some cases, it is therefore appropriate to remove a piece of tissue: a biopsy. This requires at least a local anaesthetic, sometimes the combination of a sedation syringe and a local anaesthetic, and in some cases even a full anaesthetic (for delicate sites or particularly nervous animals). For internal organs, this is usually done under ultrasound guidance.
Usually, biopsies are taken with a circular blade (punch biopsy). For internal organs, we sometimes use more sophisticated devices where a cylindrical piece of tissue can be removed with a kind of shooting device. And exceptionally, it is necessary to remove a larger piece of tissue.
Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. We always make a trade-off to choose the technique that is least invasive and at the same time most likely to provide a diagnosis.
Fungi are nasty organisms that can already cause skin problems. Unfortunately, they are not visible to the naked eye and the symptoms are usually not typical of a fungal infection. Thus, to confirm or rule out this infection, further investigation is needed. Creating a culture for fungal examination of hairs and flakes is done in the lab and takes several weeks. Sometimes fungi can also form a nodule. Examination of such nodule is also done in the lab with special staining.