Health Screening Tests

Hip Dysplasia

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Canine hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joint) begins when the hip joint in a young dog becomes loose or unstable. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this instability causes abnormal wear of the hip cartilage and ultimately progresses to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Signs of this condition are pain, reluctance to get up or exercise, difficulty climbing stairs, a “bunny-hopping” gait, limping, and lameness, especially after periods of inactivity or exercise.

Hip dysplasia most commonly affects large and giant-breed dogs; however, smaller dogs can also be affected. Although genetics often play a role in this disorder, young dogs that grow or gain weight too quickly or get too much high-impact exercise are also at risk. Being overweight can aggravate hip dysplasia.

We can help prevent or slow this condition by monitoring food intake and ensuring that your dog gets proper exercise as he or she ages. We can also screen your dog for hip dysplasia, using one of two methods. The earlier we can diagnose hip dysplasia, the better the possible outcome for your dog.

OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Certification:

We can x-ray your dog’s hips for hip dysplasia at 2 years of age. We will forward these radiographs to the OFA, where board-certified radiologists will evaluate and grade your dog’s hips for OFA certification. Correct positioning of your dog is essential for proper radiographic evaluation, so a general anesthetic is required to make the procedure less stressful for him or her.

Please call us to discuss your dog’s risk of developing hip dysplasia, to schedule a screening, or to discuss treatment options.

Pre-Anesthetic Bloodwork

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We recommend pre-anesthetic bloodwork before every anesthetic procedure. We will take a blood sample and perform a CBC (complete blood count) and a Chemistry profile (blood chemistry looking at electrolytes, clotting, white counts, etc.). For patients over 7 years old, we would add an ECG to our blood panel.

These tests let us assess whether any underlying conditions would be aggravated by an anesthetic procedure.

Senior Wellness Testing

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Our Senior Wellness Profile is a comprehensive group of tests which includes:

  • Comprehensive Physical Examination – checking general appearance, temperature, weight, respiration, ears, skin, etc.
  • Blood Pressure Evaluation – detects hypertension
  • Urinalysis – checking kidney function and evidence of infection
  • Thyroid (T-4) Test – thyroid problems are the #1 hormonal abnormality diagnosed in dogs and cats
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) – to help diagnose cancer, infection, anemia, and evaluate immune system
  • Intraocular Pressure Test – tests for glaucoma
  • Electrocardiogram – detects heart arrhythmias, changes in heart size, or other heart problems

We so strongly believe that the information we receive from a Senior Wellness Profile can help us increase the length and quality of your pet’s life, that when your pet receives the entire profile, we discount the price by 15%.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

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Knowing if your dog has this condition before an emergency situation arises can mean the difference between life and death. Similar to hemophilia in humans, von Willebrand’s disease can result in life-threatening bleeding. Many dogs that carry this disease in their genetic makeup go undetected until a minor surgery or small, superficial injury results in significant blood loss.

We offer testing for this disease, which is a highly inheritable trait in some breeds. As many as 50% of Dobermans are affected; other commonly affected breeds include German shepherds, German shorthaired and wirehaired pointers, Golden and Chesapeake Bay retrievers, Pembroke Welsh corgis, poodles, Scottish and Manchester terriers, and Shetland sheepdogs. If you have an at-risk breed, we recommend that you have your dog tested.

Some animals show no signs of the disease but are carriers of this genetic problem. If these dogs are allowed to reproduce, they can pass the disease on to their offspring. If you are a breeder, we strongly recommend testing for von Willebrand’s disease before breeding your dogs. Please call us to schedule this test.