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What Do Those Words Mean: Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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  • Ear swab exam is a test to determine the cause of abnormal ear discharge.

  • Echocardiogram is an ultrasound image made of the heart. Noninvasive equipment uses high frequency sound waves to see inside the heart as the heart is functioning. Also called: echo, cardiac ultrasound.

  • Electroretinogram evaluates the electrical responses of the retina to light stimulation. This can help determine if a pet is blind. Also called: ERG.

  • Electrocardiogram is a noninvasive test used to determine the electrical activity of the heart. Small electrodes are attached to the limbs and the body. Also called: ECG, EKG.

  • Endoscope is a long, flexible tube with a pinhead-size camera at the tip. The tool is inserted into the sedated patient to view the inside of organs, obtain a biopsy sample or remove a foreign object. Also called: scoping.

  • Esophogram is a procedure that involves swallowing barium and following the path of the barium through the gastrointestinal tract by using X-rays. Also called: barium swallow.

  • Eye pressure testing can detect glaucoma or uveitis. A small device called a tonometer is used to detect the pressure within the eye.

  • Fecal culture testing is done to diagnose bacterial causes of diarrhea.

  • Fecal fat analysis is conducted to confirm the presence of fat in feces. The test consists of fecal collection for a 24 to 72-hour period while the patient is confined and fed a standard diet.

  • Feline immunodeficiency anemia test detects antibodies to the feline AIDS virus. Also called: FIV testing, feline AIDS testing.

  • Feline leukemia test is a blood test that detects antigens to the virus. Two different tests are commonly used, the ELISA (enzyme linked immunsorbent assay) and the IFA (immunofluorescent antibody test). Also called: FeLV, Fe Leuk, leukemia testing.

  • Fine needle aspiration is a procedure that involves placing a needle in a mass or organ and pulling back on the syringe to obtain a sample. Also called: FNA.

  • Fluid analysis can be performed on any body fluid. It often includes cytology and cell counts.

  • Fluorescein stain is an orange stain that is applied to the cornea and the excess is rinsed off. The stain will adhere to ulcerated areas. Also called: eye staining test, corneal ulcer test.

  • Folate tests are used to determine intestinal absorptive function and the status of the "flora" (natural intestinal bacteria).

  • Food trial testing may be done to rule out food allergy. During testing, the pet is fed a food containing ingredients that the animal has never been exposed to. If the symptoms don't improve, food allergy can be excluded.

  • Glucose curve tests monitor diabetic pets and determine the effectiveness of their insulin therapy. Also called: serial glucose checks.

  • Gonioscopy is a procedure that provides a magnified view of the fluid drainage angle within the eye. This test often helps determine the cause of glaucoma.

  • Heartworm testing involves obtaining a blood sample. Samples are used for an antibody test. Also called: HWT.

  • Hepatic function tests are blood tests that determine the function of the liver. These tests may include bile acid studies or ammonia tests. Also called: liver function tests.

  • Histopathology is a study of tissue, such as that obtained by a biopsy.

  • Holter monitors are a type of EKG. They record the heart rhythm over a period of time. Also called: continuous ambulatory EKG.

  • IgE allergen test is a blood test that measures the levels of antibodies to different allerens that are present in the bloodstream. IgE is the type of antibody involved in the allergic response.

  • Intradermal allergen testing is done to determine which allergens will cause a reaction. The hair is clipped from one side of the thorax and small amounts of many individual allergens are injected into the skin. Also called: allergy testing.

  • Intravenous pyelogram is an X-ray study to identify the kidneys and the ureters. It involves the injection of a dye into the veins, followed by X-rays of the kidneys.

  • Joint fluid analysis is used to determine abnormalities in joint fluid. Also called: joint tap.

  • Laparotomy is an exploratory surgery that involves looking into the abdomen for abnormalities (such as foreign bodies, tumors, intestinal obstruction, gastric outflow obstruction) or to perform biopsies of abnormal tissues when the probability of abnormalities is high. This is an invasive "test" and required general anesthesia.

  • Lead level testing is a blood test used to determine the amount of lead (a toxic metal) to which a pet has been exposed.

  • Lipase is a pancreatic enzyme normally present in small concentrations in the blood. A serum lipase level test is often done as part of a biochemistry blood profile.

  • Liver function tests determine liver function. It is often referred to as either serum bile acid concentrations, bile acid studies or blood ammonia concentrations.

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