With fast internet speeds, and free video tools such as Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom, most vets are now accessible via short affordable Video Call appointments.
When your dog has a medical problem, it cannot provide information about what's wrong through verbal means. While social media has definitely has it's positive benefits of bringing communities together, leaving your pet's health diagnosis to the opinions of a social media group can lead to misdiagnosis, lack of urgency and can end up being fatal.
Your veterinarian has to use their experience, physical examinations and a variety of tests to find the source of the problem. Diagnostic tests used in veterinary care are similar to those used for humans, and they provide critical information about what's going on in the animal's body. Here are 5 of the common tests your vet may use to learn more about what's going behind the scenes, in your dog's body that online social media opinions can't provide.
Urine that is excreted can contain components that can indicate an animal's state of health. The urine may contain signs of infectious agents that indicate a bladder or kidney infection. It may indicate stones in the urinary system or a high level of blood sugar that could indicate diabetes. Your vet will ask you to collect a urine sample from your dog, which can sometimes be difficult. Many dog owners try sliding a small, shallow tray under their dogs while they are going, but this may spook the animal and may be counterproductive. Another method involves quietly slipping a kitchen-type ladle under the animal while he or she is urinating. This technique can often have better success.
Your vet may also ask you to collect a sample of feces for examination under the microscope. This test can determine if your dog has acquired worms that can undermine his or her health. If worms or their eggs are found, treatment can begin immediately to eliminate them.
Blood tests can indicate a number of problems inside the canine body. A complete blood count (CBC) assesses the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelet components in a test sample. The resulting numbers indicate how the internal organs of the animal are functioning. Problems with the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and liver can be detected through these tests. Of course, your dog doesn't have to be sick to benefit from blood testing. Your veterinarian may order blood tests of a healthy animal to determine baseline numbers. Then, any changes in these numbers when the dog is sick can help provide information on what the underlying problem may be.
X-rays provide a picture of the hard structures of the body, such as the bones, spine and skull. This kind of testing is helpful in finding broken bones, effects of arthritis or other musculoskeletal problem. Dogs are generally given a sedative to make them relax, so they can be positioned easily for being x-rayed.
Veterinarians may do ultrasound testing for a variety of suspected problems. If the dog is pregnant, an ultrasound can show the size and positions of the puppies in the uterus. In this way, the vet can anticipate possible problems during the births. Vets also do ultrasounds of the abdomen when gastrointestinal issues arise or when a problem is suspected with the adrenal glands, kidneys or liver.
Many other specialized tests are available, and your animals may receive these tests if the vet recommends a particular type of veterinary specialist to treat a suspected illness. Modern medicine has benefited animals just has it has people, and diagnostic testing has made it possible for many illnesses to be detected and treated to improve canine health and extend longevity.