Diagnostic Services

Our advanced diagnostic equipment offers you and your pet a timely and accurate diagnosis. Browse this section or Contact us at: Animal Medical Services Mount Airy, NC (336) 786-9444 or Galax Veterinary Clinic Galax, Virginia (276) 236-4212

In Hospital “SNAP test” Reader

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Many animal hospitals use “SNAP” tests to test for infectious diseases that have antigens present or result in antibody production. These SNAP tests are judged to be positive or negative based on a color change read visually (kind of like a pregnancy test!). Galax Vet Clinic and Animal Medical Services both take this one step further by using a SNAPshot Dx Analyzer. This machine reads the test results for us at the appropriate time and automatically downloads them to the patient’s record. This automation reduces human error and provides your pet, once again, with state of the art technology.

Click here to learn how ELISA SNAP technology works.

In Hospital Blood Count Analyzer

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The LaserCyte Dx™ analyzer we use provides our patients with reference laboratory-quality technology for our in-house laboratory. This machine allows us to measure all of a patient’s blood counts (Red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc.). These levels can be critical to the diagnosis of certain conditions such as anemia, infections, and clotting disorders.

In Hospital Chemistry Analyzer

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Our in-hospital blood testing equipment can give us results in 8 minutes and allows us to determine organ function, blood sugar, protein and electrolyte levels. The IDEXX Catalyst we use is considered “state of the art” for in hospital veterianry lab equipment. By having the blood test information so rapidly, we can proceed with diagnosis and treatment of your pet’s condition and get them well on their way to healing.

Utilization of these blood machines also makes preventative screening more efficient, as we can have the results of routine testing ready to discuss while you are still in the exam room or the same day for farm calls.

Radiology (X-rays)

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Radiology (x-rays) is routinely used to provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). It can be used alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools to provide a list of possible causes for a pet’s condition, identify the exact cause of a problem or rule out possible problems.

When a pet is being radiographed, an x-ray beam passes through its body and hits a piece of radiographic film. Images on the film appear as various shades of gray and reflect the anatomy of the animal. Bones, which absorb more x-rays, appear as light gray structures. Soft tissues, such as the lungs, absorb fewer x-rays and appear as dark gray structures. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.

Tonometry

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It is crucial for your pet’s vision that we detect and treat glaucoma and other problems with intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye) as quickly as possible. We can test your dog or cat’s eyes for excess pressure easily and safely. The test, performed with a device called a tonometer, is not painful and does not require sedation.

If not treated immediately (within hours to days), glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Pets that have suffered eye injuries should have this test performed. In addition, we recommend that breeds that are prone to developing glaucoma come in for regular measurements so we can monitor eye pressure and begin treatment before any problem becomes irreversible. Please call us to discuss whether your pet may be at higher risk for glaucoma.

Call us right away if you notice any of the following problems in either or both of your pet’s eyes: dilated (enlarged) pupils, clouding of the cornea (the normally clear outer layer of the eye), red or bloodshot eyes, one eye protruding or appearing larger than the other, squinting, or tearing. Because glaucoma is painful, your pet may react by rubbing or pawing at the eyes or rubbing his or her head against the floor or furniture more than normal.

Ultrasonography

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Ultrasonography (also called ultrasound or sonography) is a noninvasive, pain-free procedure that uses sound waves to examine a pet’s internal organs and other structures inside the body. It can be used to evaluate the animal’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and bladder; to detect fluid, cysts, tumors, or abscesses; and to confirm pregnancy or monitor an ongoing pregnancy.

We may use this imaging technique in conjunction with radiography (x-rays) and other diagnostic methods to ensure a proper diagnosis. Interpretation of ultrasound images requires great skill on the part of the clinician.

The ultrasonographer applies gel to the surface of the body and then methodically moves a transducer (a small handheld tool) across the skin to record images of the area of interest. The gel helps the transducer slide more easily and create a more accurate visual image.

The transducer emits ultrasonic sound waves, which are directed into the body toward the structures to be examined. The waves create echoes of varying degrees depending on the density of the tissue and amount of fluid present. Those waves create detailed images of the structures, which are shown on a monitor and recorded for evaluation.

Ultrasound does not involve radiation, has no known side effects, and doesn’t typically require pets to be sedated or anesthetized. The hair in the area to be examined usually needs to be shaved so the ultrasonographer can obtain the best result.

If you have any questions about our ultrasonography service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Emergencies

We have a veterinarian on call for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the clinic and if your call is not answered directly you will receive a message instructing you how to reach the on-call doctor.