Lab Tests - What Are They & Why Are They So Important?
Veterinary lab tests are safe and non-invasive ways to diagnose sickness or injuries in a pet that a physical exam alone cannot detect.
Pets begin to have health problems associated with the aging process just like humans do. But with more frequent veterinary care and appropriate testing, medical problems can be caught early and treated properly so your pet can live a longer, healthier life!
Here's what we offer:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
The CBC tests for anemia, infection, inflammation and overall healthiness of the blood cells. It also evaluates the number and type of cells in circulation. White blood cells (WBC’s) help fight infection or inflammation. Red Blood cells (RBC’s) carry oxygen to the tissues. Platelets are responsible for clotting. Any increases or decreases to these parameters can occur secondary to many other diseases processes.
All About Ticks
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are external skin parasites that feed on the blood of their host. Ticks can transmit diseases, including Lyme, and removal of ticks are important to prevent infection.
A tick's lifespan is two years, and before maturing to the next stage, they will require three different hosts. Each tick stage requires a blood meal before it can reach the next stage. Hard ticks have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Larvae and nymphs must feed before they detach and molt. Adult female ticks can engorge, increasing their weight by more than 100 fold. After detaching, an adult female tick can lay approximately 3,000 eggs.
During the egg-laying stage, they lay their eggs in secluded areas with dense vegetation. The eggs hatch within two weeks. Once the eggs hatch, the ticks are in the larval stage, during which time the larvae move into grass and search for their first blood meal. At this stage, they will attach themselves for several days to their first host, usually a bird or rodent, and then fall onto the ground. The nymph stage begins after the first blood meal is completed. Nymphs remain inactive during winter and start moving again in spring. Nymphs find a host, usually a rodent, pet, or human. Nymphs are generally about the size of a freckle.
After this blood meal, ticks fall off the host and move into the adult stage. Throughout the autumn, male and female adults find a host, which is again usually a rodent, pet, or human. The adult female feeds for eight to 12 days. The female mates while still attached to her host. Both ticks fall off, and the males die. The female remains inactive through the winter and in the spring lays her eggs in a secluded place. If adults cannot find a host animal in the fall, they can survive in leaf litter until the spring.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria, which can cause deadly kidney or liver disease in pets. It is also a zoonotic disease, which means it can be spread from animals to people.
Dogs can become infected and develop Leptospirosis if they come in contact with infected urine, contaminated soil, water, food or bedding; through a bite from an infected animal; and by eating infected tissues or carcasses.
Annual vaccination is recommended for all dogs. At Baldwin Harbor Animal Hospital, we offer a vaccine that effectively prevents the disease and protect dogs for at least 12 months.
Protect your pet today. Call us at (516) 379-5010 to schedule your dog's vaccination.
Lyme Disease and Dogs
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme is a bacterial infection (Borrelia burgdorferi) that is transmitted by the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis.) Ticks feed on the host for the sole purpose of developing to the next stage of their life cycle.
What are the signs?
Most often dogs are asymptomatic, and the infection is commonly found incidentally on a routine screening (4dx Plus). In clinical patients, common signs can include:
- Arched back
- Sensitive to touch
- Lack of appetite
- Swollen joints
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulty breathing
- Complete heart block
In severe situations, Lyme disease can cause nephritis (inflammation of the kidney) and lead to renal failure. If not caught in time, this can result in death.
How do you diagnose the disease?
Lyme disease is diagnosed with an in-house blood test called a 4dx Plus SNAP test. This test looks for Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Heartworm. Ehrlichia and Anaplasma are tick-borne diseases that are transmitted by the American Dog Tick and the Lonestar Tick. These ticks are also commonly found in the North East. Heartworm is an internal parasite that is transmitted by mosquitos. So by doing the 4dx Plus test, you will also be testing your dog for some other commonly found infections.