Unfortunately, diagnosing why your pet has diarrhoea isn’t always straightforward. 'Why?', we hear you ask. Well, the causes for diarrhoea are wide ranging. From the mild simple tummy upset to serious life threatening conditions like Parvo Virus.
Best case scenario, your pet has a "tummy bug'. Worst case scenario your pet has a serious and potentially life threatening condition that will only WORSEN if left alone. Applying the 'wait and see approach' can lead to some devastating outcomes. Which, unfortunately, we have seen many times.
This is why in many instances further testing is likely to be necessary and recommended.
1. Blood Tests
Our in house lab has specialised analysers that help us run a sample of your pet's blood. These tests help the vet to assess organ function (kidney, liver, pancreas, thyroid etc). They also help assess for dehydration and if there are any indicators for an infection (white blood cells).
These blood tests can help the vet on the road to discovering what is potentially causing your pet’s diarrhoea. However, there are instances where your pet's blood results are all within normal ranges. Normal ranges does not necessarily mean there is nothing else going on. Many diseases can cause diarrhoea that don't affect blood results.
2. Diagnostic Imaging
X-rays are a quick and easy way to help the veterinary team to "see" obvious changes going on within your pet's body. Such as: large obstructions, masses etc. Unfortunately, xray imaging can only show up these things if the blockage is causing a lot of gas buildup or are radiopaque i.e. show up on xray - (bone, metal, stones)
Ultrasound is a non-invasive way to image what is happening to your pet internally. Ultrasound can help assess subtle changes to organs that an xray does not pick up. Additionally things such as free fluid, and foreign bodies that are not radiopaque are more likely to show up on ultrasound.
The vet may recommend one or both of these diagnostic imaging options. The reason for both is because each method has its strong and weak points. Using both helps to address the information gap.
We have some in -house SNAP tests with ELISA Technology. Depending on the test a blood, urine or feacal sample may be required. We use these tests to help assess if your pet is positive for particular diseases or conditions.
Faecal Sample Analysis
A faecal sample may be required to assess for parasites, microbes etc
A urine sample from your pet may be required to gather more information to add to the diagnostic work up being performed.
Exploratory laparotomy is a surgery which requires opening the abdomen to find the cause of problems (such as belly pain or bleeding) that testing could not diagnose.
Additional Referral Testing
More complex cases may require referral to specialist veterinary centres for endoscopy, CT, MRI, biopsies etc. Should this be required we can refer your pet to one of these centres.