Regular testing can serve as early prevention tool
Sep 01, 2002
Immediate point-of-care starts with the mainstays of any veterinary practice - hence, collection of accurate case history followed by performing a thorough physical examination. Thereafter, samples are collected for performing a CBC, serum chemistry profile and urinalysis. Results obtained from the case history, physical examination and laboratory tests (CBC, serum chemistry profile, and urinalysis) are then used to determine additional diagnostic needs. There are several common practical errors associated with regular diagnostic testing that occur in most veterinary practices (Table 1). For example, a common practical error is performing radiography and/or ultrasonography before the case results of the CBC, serum chemistry profile, and urinalysis are known.
High body condition scores Obese cats (i.e., high body condition scores) tend to have a higher than normal hematocrit. The serum concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides are significantly increased in obese cats and dogs. It is interesting that fasted serum glucose concentrations are not usually increased in the obese cat or dog. As cats become obese, serum free thyroxine (FT4) by dialysis increases in the normal range and correlates with most indices of obesity, whereas serum total thyroxine (TT4) and total triiodothyronine (TT3) concentrations do not change significantly.
Liver and gall bladder evaluation The common serum chemistry profile tests for liver and gall bladder disease include the serum leakage enzyme tests (ALT and AST) and the cholestatic tests (ALP and GGT). Other tests for liver function include serum total bilirubin, bile acids, albumin, globulin and cholesterol. Following liver parenchymal injury, serum ALT increases followed by serum AST. Serum AST returns to normal more rapidly than serum ALT provided there is no added muscle tissue damage. Chronic liver disease is likely if serum ALT and AST both remain increased. Cholestasis can result from impaired bile flow or can be drug-induced (increased glucocorticoid concentration and administration of anticonvulsants). Serum ALP and GGT are normally present in low concentrations. Impaired bile flow stimulates production of ALP and may also be linked to retention of bile acids.
Kidney evaluation Nearly all blood constituents pass through the renal glomeruli and enter the tubules. Kidney injury may result in an inability of the glomerulus to retain cells and proteins or impair the resorptive capability of the tubules. Azotemia (i.e., increased BUN and serum creatinine) occurs when any condition alters the glomerular filtration rate or when the urinary tract is obstructed. Nutritional status and gastrointestinal hemorrhage will also affect BUN concentrations. Because creatinine is formed during normal muscle metabolism, the amount of creatinine present is affected by the animal's total muscle mass. An alteration in the ratio of the BUN-to-creatinine concentrations is a more significant indicator of renal disease than individual measurements of either component. If in question about actual renal function for the older dog or cat, an iohexol clearance test that measures glomerular filtration rate may also be used.