What Diseases Can a Vet Lab Screen For in Pets?

If you have a furry friend at home, you likely consider them part of the family. That’s why their health is as important as any other member’s. Like you would for yourself, screening for diseases is crucial to your pet’s healthcare routine. Knowing what a veterinary diagnostic lab can screen for assists you in keeping your pet healthy and happy for years. Let’s explore the different tests and preventive measures to ensure your pet gets the best care possible.

What is Pet Screening?

Health screenings at a veterinary lab are vital in identifying diseases early on. This allows for prompt treatment and better management of your pet’s condition. Such tests include blood work, urinalysis, fecal exams, and sometimes, more specialized diagnostics like X-rays or ultrasounds. Screening may differ depending on your pet’s species, age, and overall health status.

Diseases a Vet Lab Can Screen For in Pets

Veterinary laboratories are essential for diagnosing various diseases in pets, ensuring they receive proper treatment and care. These facilities have advanced technologies to detect bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic diseases, hormonal imbalances and genetic disorders. The following is an overview of some common diseases and health issues that vet labs can screen for in pets.

1. Bacterial Diseases

  • Leptospirosis: A bacterial disease that can cause kidney and liver damage. It is zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted to humans.

  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough): A highly contagious respiratory disease common in dogs.

  • Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, which can cause joint inflammation and other chronic symptoms.

  • Bartonellosis (Cat Scratch Fever): A bacterial infection that can affect humans and is transmitted by cats, often through scratches or bites.

  • Brucellosis: A disease affecting reproductive organs, potentially leading to infertility.

Preventive measures are equally important when it comes to your pet’s health. Regularly scheduled their pet vaccinations services play a pivotal role in protecting them from several preventable diseases. Ensuring your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations can spare them from potentially fatal illnesses, and it all starts with a visit to your vet.

2. Viral Diseases

  • Parvovirus: A highly contagious viral illness in dogs, often fatal to puppies.

  • Canine Distemper: A viral severe disease affecting dogs’ gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems.

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): The feline version of HIV weakens the cat’s immune system over time.

  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): A retrovirus that suppresses a cat’s immune system and can lead to cancer.

  • Rabies: A fatal viral disease affecting the central nervous system, which can affect all mammals, including humans.

3. Fungal Diseases

  • Ringworm: A common fungal skin, hair, or nail infection.

  • Aspergillosis: A fungal infection that primarily affects the nose and sinuses but can disseminate to the whole body.

  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis): A fungal disease endemic in certain parts of the USA that affects the respiratory system.

  • Blastomycosis: A fungal infection that can cause respiratory, skin, and other systemic issues.

4. Parasitic Diseases

  • Heartworm: Transmitted by mosquitoes, it can cause severe heart and lung damage in pets.

  • Giardiasis: An intestinal infection caused by the Giardia parasite, leading to diarrhea and weight loss.

  • Tick-borne diseases like Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis: Bacterial infections transmitted by ticks, causing various systemic symptoms.

  • Intestinal parasites: Worms such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms that can cause gastrointestinal distress and malnutrition.

5. Endocrine Diseases

  • Diabetes Mellitus: A condition where the pet cannot regulate blood sugar levels.

  • Hyperthyroidism: An overproduction of thyroid hormone, typically in cats, leading to weight loss and other metabolic disturbances.

  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland, typically in dogs, leading to symptoms like lethargy and weight gain.

  • Addison’s Disease: A deficiency in adrenal gland hormones causing weakness, gastrointestinal symptoms, and crises.

  • Cushing’s Disease: An overproduction of cortisol by the adrenal glands, leading to symptoms like increased appetite, thirst, and urination.

In cases where your pet needs immediate attention, a veterinary emergency clinic comes to the rescue. These facilities are staffed with skilled personnel ready to handle urgent health issues around the clock. Whether a traumatic injury or a sudden critical illness, these clinics provide the necessary care and diagnostics to save pets in dire situations.

6. Genetic Disorders

  • Hip Dysplasia screening: A genetic predisposition to abnormal hip joint development, common in certain dog breeds.

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease: A genetic disorder in certain breeds, particularly Persian cats, characterized by cyst formation in the kidneys.

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: A genetic bleeding disorder due to a deficiency in the von Willebrand factor, essential for blood clotting.

  • Multidrug Resistance Mutation (MDR1): A genetic mutation that affects some breeds’ ability to process certain medications.

7. Cancer Markers

  • Lymphoma: A type of cancer affecting lymphoid tissues.

  • Mast Cell Tumors: A common skin tumor found in dogs.

  • Osteosarcoma: A bone cancer that is particularly aggressive and can lead to lameness and pain.

8. Other Health Screenings

  • Liver function tests: To assess the health and function of the liver.

  • Kidney function tests: To evaluate the health and function of the kidneys.

  • Complete blood count (CBC): To assess general health and detect various disorders, including anemia and infection.

  • Blood chemistries: To check for numerous conditions, including organ function, to evaluate the overall health of internal organs and check for metabolic diseases.

  • Urinalysis: To detect urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and other conditions.

  • Thyroid hormone tests: To determine if the thyroid gland is working correctly.

  • Electrolyte panels: To ensure the pet’s electrolyte levels are balanced and to detect dehydration and other conditions.

When it’s about your pets’ health, a vet lab & veterinary pharmacy are at the forefront of technological advancements. These facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art tools to assist vets in diagnosing and treating various conditions. From routine blood tests to more complex DNA testing, vet labs are essential in pet healthcare management.

Final Thoughts

Pet parents can breathe a bit easier knowing that vet labs are equipped to diagnose and manage a wide array of health issues in their beloved animals. Whether through regular check-ups or urgent care at an emergency clinic, staying proactive in your pet’s health can lead to early detection and better management of diseases. So, the next time you’re snuggling with your furry friend, remember that a simple lab visit can contribute to countless more moments of joy together.