Investigating your pets illnesses and injuries

The first stage of any investigation of an illness is normally to run Blood and Urine Tests. The focus of an investigation can be varied depending on the nature of the illness and the vet will usually tailor the profile of the test to suit you pet’s particular problem.

There are many hundreds of things that can be tested for and the vet will use their skill to determine which tests are likely to give the most valuable information.

Injuries to bones often require an x-ray to show the location and severity of the problem. We can also x-ray other areas of the body such as the heart, lungs and intestines. Internal organs and body cavities can also be imaged by our Ultrasound Scanner. Some investigations require all of these procedures to give the best information about a particular problem. For more advanced imaging such as MRI or CT we can refer to a nearby specialist practice.

We are also able to offer ECG and blood pressure monitoring which can be done in house, with minimum stress to your pet.


X-rays or more correctly ‘radiographs’ can be taken of any part of the body. They allow us to look at various structures within the body from different angles depending on how the animal is positioned. They are produced by passing radiation in the form of x-rays through the body onto a kind of photographic film. Tissues of varying density absorb the x-rays to different degrees, therefore bones stand out very well and soft tissues appear with different shades of grey.

Radiographs are used primarily to assess bones and the major organs of the body. The information they can give us about bones can be very detailed. They will also allow us to assess the size and shape and the overall appearance of various organs. They cannot tell us how the actual organs are functioning or give information about their very fine structure. Most soft tissues have a similar ‘radiodensity’ and so will appear to have similar structure on a radiograph. Tissues that are surrounded by bone such as the brain cannot be imaged with a radiograph.

To take radiographs of your pet we will normally advise a general anaesthetic or sedation. This allows us to position your pet in the way that we want and it prevents any movement while the radiograph is taken. It also means that your pet is not distressed in any way by the procedure as they are totally unaware. Taking radiographs is painless and non-invasive and gives a lot of information which we can use often coupled with blood samples to help make our diagnosis.

We have facilities at both practices to take x-rays so your pet will not need to be transported to another premises for this procedure.

Blood Tests

Blood sampling is a relatively painless and non-invasive way to gain large amounts of information about your pets’ condition. We use them to investigate many problems when the underlying cause is not immediately evident from a clinical examination.

We can assess the state of health of internal organs, check for levels of antibodies which confer resistance to disease, monitor drug levels in your pet’s blood while they are under treatment and measure hormone levels which can be responsible for many diseases. In addition to this we can measure the red and white blood cell levels which can indicate the severity and progression of many conditions. We have recently invested in new state of the art equipment which can measure and differentiate between all of the different blood cells present in a sample, by measuring the refraction of a laser beam fired through a falling stream of cells.

If your pet needs to have a blood sample, it is usually done at the time of the consultation. Most animals, with careful restraint, will allow us to take a blood sample without any undue stress. It is usually taken from the jugular vein in the neck and you may notice a small area of hair has been clipped away to allow us to cleanse the skin and access the vein easily.

Results can be obtained within a day or two in most cases where samples are run in house. We are able to run a comprehensive biochemistry and haematology profile including electrolytes in house. Some samples need to be sent to an external lab and may take several days for results to come back.