Get the information you need in your own home
After examination, your vet might recommend further tests that would ideally be performed. The following tests can often be performed by our home visit vets:
Routine Blood Sample
Obtaining a blood sample can provide vital information about your pet’s internal organ health either for diagnosis or for monitoring ongoing conditions. It’s also useful during the administration of long-term medications to find out how effective it is. Most blood samples are analysed at our practice on the same day with more specialist tests sent externally. Results are usually available within 24-48 hours.
Blood sampling your pet is usually quick and simple, a small patch of hair is shaved and the skin prepared so that it is clean for sampling, we often use local anaesthetic spray so that your pet can’t feel the sample being taken.
Testing your pet’s urine is not only important if they are demonstrating urinary signs such as blood in the urine or difficulty urinating, but also for monitoring kidney health and for the diagnosis of other conditions such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease.
Samples can be easily collected from dogs at home by collecting an early morning sample in a clean container. Cats are also easy to collect samples from, by cleaning their normal litter tray and using a hydrophobic sand which doesn’t absorb the urine, a pipette can then be used to suck up the sample for testing.
Sore ears and itchy skin are just some of the symptoms of dog skin conditions, in order for our vets to establish the cause and administer the most appropriate treatment we can take some simple samples from the skin at home.
We routinely take ear swabs for rapid analysis of cell types and bacteria or yeast under the microscope, these are analysed the same day to guide treatment.
Impression smears from spots, cellotape strips from red or scurfy skin and hair plucks from certain areas can also be used to assess the skin. Finally, skin scrapings may need to be performed for certain parasites. All of these tests are analysed on the same day at our practice.
Both elderly cats and dogs can suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), if undiagnosed it can lead to kidney damage and vision loss due to damage to the fine blood vessels at the back of the eye. Blood pressure readings are obtained similarly to the method used in people, with a cuff inflated on the leg and a doppler machine used on the paw to measure the blood pressure.
A major advantage of performing this in the home environment is the reduction in the impact of ‘white coat syndrome’ where the blood pressure rises due to being placed in a medical environment. At home, readings are far more representative of the patient’s normal blood pressure and results are instant.
In cases of prolonged diarrhoea or weight loss, it can be important to assess a pet’s faeces for evidence of certain bacterial or parasitic infections. Your vet can provide faecal collection pots, it is important in most cases to collect a pooled faecal sample (some of your pet’s faeces for 3 days), as some of the pathogens that are tested for are only present in certain faecal motions. Samples are submitted to the laboratory, initial results are normally available within 48 hours, some cultures take up to 5 days.
If your pet has a problem with their ears it is important to fully examine the full ear canal and ear drum (tympanic membrane). Our vets will either use the handheld otoscope or even the handheld video otoscope connected to a laptop to assess the ear canal health. This may reveal mites in the ear, foreign bodies such as grass seeds, damage to the tympanic membrane or excessive debris and hair in the canal.
Ophthalmoscopy and Tonometry
We commonly see problems with pets eyes and a thorough examination goes beyond just assessing the eyelids and the surface of the eye itself. We will routinely use a special scope to look at the eyes, eyelids, membranes around the eyes, lens and also the retina at the back of the eye to complete a full picture of your pets eye health.
There are certain cases where it is important to check the pressure within the eye, such as in very red eyes or cloudy eyes as high or low pressures can be a cause for concern. We have the equipment (tonometer) to be able to test your pet’s eye pressures after applying some local anaesthetic to the surface of the eye, this is a simple test that can be performed at home.
Fine needle aspirate
If your pet has a lump or growth on their body it is usually difficult to accurately diagnose the problem by the look and feel of the lump. Often a small sample is taken from a lump to obtain some cells which can then be analysed in order to give a better idea of the diagnosis.
Usually the pets hair is shaved or clipped so that the skin surface can be cleaned. Local anaesthetic spray is used and following this a small needle is inserted directly into the lump and moved around a few times to obtain a cell sample. An air filled syringe is used to express the sample in the needle onto a glass slide which is then smeared. Initially these samples can be looked at in house but most need to be sent off to verify the results.
Hospital Based tests
Although all of the above tests can be performed at home, there are some cases where we will need to see your pet at the practice for a test such as for radiography and full ultrasound scans and those tests which may require sedation or anaesthesia to perform. As part of Knutsford Veterinary Surgery there is full access to a modern, fully equipped veterinary clinic and team as part of the service.
Areas covered include: Lymm, Hale, Bowdon, Wilmslow, Holmes Chapel, Mobberley and Alderley Edge.