In House Blood Tests
Complete Blood Count
The CBC quantifies the types of cells in a blood sample---specifically the red cells, the white cells and the platelets. CBC is a general-purpose screening tool that can yield a great deal of information about a horse’s general health. Blood analysis also focuses on the white blood cell count (WBC count), a measure of the number of the infection-fighting white blood cells in the sample.
The serum chemistry profile is one of the most important initial tests commonly performed on horses. Sometimes a specific diagnosis may be made on the basis of a blood chemistry profile alone. More often than not, however, the profile provides information on a variety of body organs (i.e. kidneys and liver) and systems that gives the veterinarian an indication of where a problem might be located. The profile can be extremely helpful in determining which of the many other diagnostic tests would be beneficial.
Fibrinogen is an acute phase protein (APP). It is used clinically as an indicator of systemic inflammation, both acute and chronic. Early recognition of systemic inflammation is essential to formulate and initiate an effective treatment plan. Inflammation which is not recognized or is subclinical impairs growth and performance. Acute phase proteins are quickly released into the bloodstream in response to inflamation or injury. Their blood levels are directly related to the severity of the underlying condition. By definition, APP’s are those proteins in which plasma concentrations increase or decrease by at least 25% after an inflammatory stimulus.
Serum Amyloid A
SAA (Serum Amyloid A) is a member of a group of proteins called Acute Phase Proteins which have been found in many animal species and which are thought to be part of the body’s basic first line defenses against infection, disease or trauma. In response to a challenge, such as an infective organism, the body sends chemical messengers to the liver which then produces and releases SAA into the bloodstream which helps to fight off the challenge. SAA is normally not present at all or in very low levels in a healthy horse. In response to a challenge however, the immune system of the animal is activated and SAA is produced in very high levels – hundreds of times above the normal levels. If the horse is healthy with no activation of it’s immune system therefore, there is a very low level of detectable SAA in the bloodstream, if the horse has an active immune system which indicates that it’s body is dealing with some problem, then the SAA levels will rise in response to that and will remain so until the problem has been dealt with or resolved. This rise can take place within a matter of hours of the problem arising - before a horse may show any signs of a health problem.
Culture & Sensitivity
In house culture and sensitivity means we can have results by the time most cultures are arriving at outside labs. Whether we collect the sample from a wound, airway, uterus or joint we can know in 24 hours exactly what antibiotics will eliminate the bacteria present. A sample is collected and allowed to grow on media overnight. The following day each different type of bacteria growing is grown on a separate plate with different antibiotics. The antibiotics that the organism is susceptible to will deter growth and the best possible antibiotic for each infection can be chosen.
Fecal Egg Count
For many horse owners and managers, a fecal egg count exam is just one part of the usual equine healthcare services provided by their veterinarians. This one simple, inexpensive test can provide a wealth of information about general health and the effectiveness of a deworming program.