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Veterinary Laboratories Terms to Know
Pet ownership is a huge responsibility when your animal is in good health, but it's an even bigger job when your pet is not in good health. Fortunately, there have been so many advances in veterinary medicine and diagnostic testing over the past few decades that your pet can enjoy a level of medical care and services that are comparable to what humans enjoy. But unless you've studied veterinary medicine, some of the terms used by these specialists to describe diagnostic testing and other lab services can be very confusing. And since you are your pets' number one advocate, it's important that you understand what the doctors and nurses at the veterinary clinic are talking about. That's why understanding common veterinary lab terminology is very important.
Blood Work - Probably the most common type of lab work done on animals. Your vet supplies the lab with a small sample of blood that is then tested for a large number of potential problems including everything from cancer to genetic disorders.
Pathology - This term refers to the study and treatment of diseases. Pathology reports are a series of medical tests designed to sniff out what exactly is causing the animal problems.
Specialists - Your primary vet may refer you to a specialist who supplies more detailed knowledge of certain diseases and systems. The most common veterinary specialist is the dermatologist.
Ultrasound - Just like humans, the deep tissue in your pet can be photographed with an ultrasound. This is especially useful for diagnosing and locating tumors.
Veterinary laboratories, clinical settings where diagnostic testing for animals occurs, can be connected to a veterinarian's office or act as a stand-alone laboratory facility for treatment and testing. Tests such as blood and urine samples, along with biopsies, can be sent over to these labs for further testing. This testing can determine what is wrong with a pet with testing for dogs, cats, or other small animals.
Vets are animal doctors with some that own their own practice while other doctors work in larger clinics. Veterinary laboratories usually feature equipment like X-ray machines to perform necessary scans, which can detect anything from tumors to broken bones. Medical specialists may have veterinary laboratories on site, while others have to send out their diagnostic testing to labs off site. The time it takes to get results back varies, depending on how busy or backed up the lab is.
Vets treat many animals, and therefore perform many diagnostic tests, exams, and scans in a given day. The lab should be able to handle the workload of the veterinary clinic, comparable in size and capabilities. Vets use specialized tools, machines, chemicals, and other products in their jobs that are safe for animals of all kinds.
As part of their services, animal specialists also provide medical and clinical offerings, and can prescribe medicine for pets if needed. They provide routine check-ups and sick exams, disease diagnosis, gene testing via technician assistance, and even round-the-clock emergency services. Those who work in a veterinary lab often have biological, chemistry and other health-related backgrounds, using that expertise to perform testing and offer information reports on their findings.