The importance of advanced diagnostics


We’ve all been there: a puking dog at 2 a.m., a cat who tangled with the wrong dog, or some other ailment. You call the vet to ask how concerned you should be, and you’re told, “We can’t say without seeing your animal.”

It’s frustrating that you can’t just call and get a household fix over the phone, but the truth is, it’s impossible to tell what’s wrong with a sick animal based on a conversation. In fact, sometimes, even a visit to your regular veterinarian can be inconclusive.

For instance, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, loss of appetite, lethargy, limping, and more are all symptoms of common, easily treatable issues – maybe your pet has a flea allergy, or a thorn in his paw, or a simple upset stomach. But those symptoms are also all signs of bigger issues, especially when they are persistent.

An examination is key to feel the abdomen for masses and blockages, to check the painful joint for misalignment or swelling, and to check for fleas or mites that could contribute to a rash. Routine bloodwork, urinalysis, radiographs, and skin tests are often needed to diagnose the cause of the symptoms—or at least rule out things that are not causing the problem. Those are the stickiest problems, the ones where a veterinarian’s exam and routing testing can tell you what it isn’t, but the answer of what it is remains elusive. When regular exams and bloodwork are inconclusive, veterinarians rely on advanced diagnostics to give them a full picture of your pet’s health.

What are advanced diagnostics?
Advanced diagnostic tools refer to tests and tools not readily available at most general practices. This might include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Advanced radiography (x-ray)
  • CT scan
  • Endoscopy
  • Rhinoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Exploratory surgery
  • And more

These tools tell veterinarians what regular examinations and bloodwork cannot, such as the presence of tumors, broken or fractured bones, issues with the airway, esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, heart problems, and more.

When are advanced diagnostics used?
Advanced diagnostic tools can be used to identify foreign bodies, back disease, cancers or tumors, cardiomyopathy, and more.

Your regular veterinary hospital likely has many diagnostic tools on-hand, such as x-ray, cytology, and bloodwork. However, when a veterinarian cannot make a conclusive diagnosis, or treatment isn’t working, they rely on specialty hospitals such as Animal Emergency & Specialty Center to help them dig deeper to get to the root of the problem.

The bottom line is, bloodwork and x-rays aren’t always enough for answers, even when a pet is obviously very sick. This is when more extensive tools and expertise are needed for answers.

What advanced diagnostics are available at Animal Emergency & Specialty Center?

At our Knoxville or Chattanooga locations, we perform:

  • CT
  • Radiography
  • Electrocardiograms
  • Echocardiography
  • Endoscopy
  • Cystoscopy
  • Rhinoscopy
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Gastroscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopic biopsy
  • Blood-gas analysis
  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Ultrasounds
  • Ultrasound-guided tissue biopsies
  • In-house cytology
  • And more

When you don’t yet have all the answers for best treatment of your pet, the resources of Animal Emergency and Specialty Center are available.