Fluid Analysis in Dogs

Fluid is defined here as “any liquid of the body”. Some fluid can be normal while others are abnormal. Abnormal fluid accumulations can be caused by infection, abnormal functioning organs, viruses and even cancer. Analyzing this fluid is an important aspect of finding the cause of the fluid accumulation and developing an appropriate treatment plan for your dog.

Fluid analysis can be performed on any body fluid. Analysis often consists of cytology and cell counts. The fluid is analyzed for clarity, color, cell counts and protein levels. Fluid analysis is indicated and strongly recommended anytime fluid is found in an abnormal place in the body. There are no real contraindications to performing this test on any collected fluid.

What Does Fluid Analysis Reveal in Dogs?

Fluid analysis can reveal the types of cells and levels of proteins present in fluid. By analyzing fluid, the cause may be determined and the appropriate treatment begun.

How Is Fluid Analysis Done in Dogs?

After obtaining a fluid sample, multiple tests can be performed. If obtained by sterile methods, a culture and sensitivity can be submitted to determine if there is a specific bacterial component to the fluid. A sample of the fluid may be placed in a glass tube and separated in a centrifuge. The cells are spun down and evaluated. These cells are placed on a microscope slide and evaluated. For extensive analysis, the fluid may be submitted to an outside laboratory. Test results may not be available for up to 3 to 5 days.

Is Fluid Analysis Painful to Dogs?

Any pain involved is associated with the collection of the sample, since a needle is often used to pierce the skin and obtain the fluid sample. As with people, the pain experienced from a needle will vary from individual to individual. Some fluid samples are obtained when fluid drains from the body without using a needle.

Is Sedation or Anesthesia Needed for Fluid Analysis?

Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most patients; however, some pets resent needle sticks and may need tranquilization or ultra short anesthesia.