The Significance of Point-of-Care Testing for the Health of Your Pet

When you take your furry friend to the vet for a wellness checkup to diagnose or treat a problem, your veterinarian may recommend certain tests or procedures to ensure your pet’s health. Preventive testing is the term for it.

Preventive testing aids in the establishment of a baseline for your pet, which you can then compare to future tests for changes. It also allows you to detect problems before they become full-fledged problems or even emergencies, allowing your pet to live a longer, healthier, and more trouble-free life. 

Moreover, when vets perform these tests at the point-of-care, the results are often available before leaving your veterinarian’s office.

What is point-of-care testing?

Point-of-care testing is preventative or diagnostic testing performed and analyzed at the location where your pet receives care, such as a veterinary clinic. This type of testing typically yields results faster than traditional lab results, allowing you to get an answer or diagnosis and decide on the next steps (such as additional testing, hospitalization, or a referral for further care or treatment) during the same visit to your veterinarian.

According to research, you can detect diseases and underlying issues earlier by monitoring your pet’s trends with regular preventative testing. For example, in an analysis of 1,197 cat preventive visits, a quarter of the cats had abnormalities in their results that could be consistent with various serious conditions. 

Therefore, many of those cats had results with irregularities that warranted further assessment. And the only way to catch health problems before they become serious is through preventive lab testing.

Common Veterinary Point-of-Care Tests

The types of tests your veterinarian may suggest for your pet are determined by their breed, age, and lifestyle. The following are some of the most common preventive, diagnostic, or monitoring tests that can be performed and analyzed in the clinic using point-of-care testing:

Chemistry blood tests

These tests can provide information about your pet’s pancreas, liver, kidney, intestine, thyroid, and many other organs and body systems.

A biochemistry profile is a common test that will look at various factors:

  • Blood glucose (looking for signs of diabetes, Addison’s disease, or liver dysfunction)
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) 
  • Creatinine (both of which are primarily indicators of renal/kidney health)
  • Protein levels in the blood (where abnormalities could indicate inflammation, liver dysfunction, or even certain cancers)
  • And specific liver enzymes (which, when abnormal, could mean a range of different problems with the liver).

There are also specific blood tests to check for viral infections (such as FeLV and FIV, two debilitating feline viral infections), check for the presence of heartworm infection, or screen for tick-borne diseases.

If your vet discovers that your pet has liver cancer, you must find a reputable surgeon to remove the tumor. Just search for a vet surgeon near me” for the best results.

Hematology examinations

The Complete Blood Cell Count (CBC), which examines red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, is the most common hematology test. It can assist the veterinary team in detecting conditions such as anemia and leukemia, inflammation, blood clotting issues, and potential infections. You can learn more about this by speaking to a specialist. 

Urine examinations

Urine tests can be used in conjunction with chemistry blood tests to look for blood, protein, glucose, or other abnormalities in the urine. In addition, it informs the vet team about how well your pet’s kidneys are working and other issues such as bacteria in the urine (which could mean a urinary tract infection). 

An ultrasound may be performed on your pet to determine the bladder wall, diverticula (pouches), bladder stones, and large tumors in the bladder. In this case, you can search for “veterinary ultrasound near me” to find the nearest facility in your area.

The Advantages of Point-of-Care Testing

The advantage of POCT is the quick access to test results. Additionally, it demonstrates diagnostic accuracy, robust quality management, immediately acting on results, and changing operational processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness. 

  • Your pet’s tests are available to you on the same day.
  • You will have peace of mind knowing that you detect any neglected disease sooner.
  • When the condition is detected early, you can often control it more quickly and less discomfort for your pet. Also, it often reduces the amount of money you will have to spend to get the condition under control and keep it that way over time.

It makes it easier for your veterinary team to identify potential diseases and other impending problems in the future if they occur. Additionally, the vet can use proactive testing to monitor your pet’s condition and well-being when a problem arises.