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Diagnostics Explained

FUN PUN: What do you get when you cross a sheepdog with a rose? A collie-flower!

At Erindale Animal Hospital we have advanced diagnostic machines to help understand and diagnose your companion's symptoms and conditions. The below are some common diagnostic tests, which are a few we are able to perform in our in house diagnostic laboratory. Once a test is performed our care teams will explain the results to you, and develop a specific health plan for your pet. 

Complete Blood Count (CBC):


  • WBC (white blood cell count) measures the body’s immune system. Increases or decreases indicate certain diseases or infections.

  • RBC (red blood cell count) measures hydration level, low results may indicate anemia.

  • HCT (hematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells to help detect anemia and dehydration.

  • HBG and MCHC (hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) are the oxygen carrying pigments of red bloods cells.

  • PLT (platelet count) measures cells that form blood clots.

  • MCV (mean corpuscular volume) measures the average size of red blood cells. It aids in the diagnosis of anemia.

  • MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin) measures average amount of hemoglobin per red blood cell. It also helps in the diagnosis of anemia.

  • RETICS (reticulocytes) are immature red blood cells. High levels indicate regenerative anemia.

  • EOS (eosinophils) are specific types of white blood cells that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.

  • LYM, MON, and GRA (lymphocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes) are specific types of white blood cells. Increase in these numbers may indicate an infection, inflammation or certain diseases.

  • NEUT (neutrophils) a type of white blood cell which help heal damaged tissues and resolve infections.  Levels increase naturally in response to infections, injuries and other types of stress. Decreased levels can be a sign of severe or chronic infection.


Blood Chemistries:


  • ALB (albumin) is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage, and intestinal, liver, and kidney disease.

  • ALKP (alkaline phosphatase) evaluation may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease, and active bone growth in young pets. This test is especially significant in cats.

  • ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not necessarily indicate the cause.

  • AMYL (amylase) elevations show pancreatitis or kidney disease

  • BUN/UREA (blood urea nitrogen) indicates kidney function. An increased blood level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver, and heart disease, urethral obstruction, shock, and dehydration.

  • Ca (Calcium) deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that altar serum calcium,

  • CREA (creatinine) reveals kidney function. This test helps distinguish kidney from non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.

  • GLU (glucose) is a blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate stress or diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or coma.

  • PHOS (phosphorus) elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders.

  • K (potassium) is an electrolyte. It is lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest.

  • Na (sodium) is an electrolyte. It is lost with vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.

  • TBIL (total bilirubin) elevations may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.

  • TP (total protein) indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys, and infectious disease.

  • GLOB (globulin) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.

  • Cholestrol is used to supplement diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes mellitus.

  • Chloride is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.

  • GGT (gamma glutamyl transferase) is an enzyme that indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.


Urinalysis is a diagnostic test that evaluates the physical and chemical properties of urine. It can be used to assess the health of the kidneys and urinary tract system. A urinalysis allows us to examine specific components of urine, which help us understand a pet's overall health. The following are some of things we look at when we perform a urinalysis: 

  • Urine Color

  • Turbidity

  • Protein

  • Glucose (sugar)

  • Ketones

  • Blood

  • Urobilinogen

  • Bilirubin
  • PH

  • Specific Gravity

  • Urine Sediment: Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells, Crystals, and Bacteria

Urine can be collected through a cystocentesis, catheterization, or free catch from the midstream of urine. If the urinalysis does detect areas of concern, we will discuss the next steps which can include a follow up sample and repeat urinalysis or further diagnostic testing for specific causes such as a urine culture.When a urinalysis is combined with other laboratory testing the urinalysis completes the total body assessment of your pet.

If you have questions or concerns about your pet's urinary health, please reach out to us today so we can.

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