Pet Health Articles

  • The pancreas is a glandular organ located close to the liver, the stomach and the small intestine. The pancreas has two separate and distinct functions, which are its endocrine functions (functions associated with hormone production) and its exocrine functions (functions associated with enzyme production).

  • Pancreatitis is a disease caused by inflammation of the pancreas. In the cat, inflammation of the pancreas is often part of a larger inflammatory condition that typically involves the liver and intestine, as well as the pancreas. Clinical signs are often vague and non-specific, and include lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss, and dehydration. Pancreas-specific lipase is a form of lipase produced only in the pancreas. It is highly specific to the pancreas and blood values increase only when there is pancreatic inflammation.

  • The risk associated with general anesthesia and surgery is minimal for a healthy pet. However, the potential for complications still exists, and the best way to minimize the risk is for your pet is to have a complete pre-surgical evaluation performed before the procedure. There are three stages of surgical preparation: physical examination, routine blood testing, and additional or special testing.

  • Having your pet properly prepared before blood collection helps to ensure that test results are as accurate and reliable as they can be. Sometimes abnormal test results say more about how the pet was prepared than about true illness.

  • One of the most common and useful medical diagnostic procedures is radiography or x-rays. The term x-rays originates from 1895 when the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the technique. Since he was unsure what exactly was producing the image on his plates, he titled his paper "On a New Kind of Rays" and the term "x"-rays was substituted for "unknown rays."

  • ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. The term endogenous simply refers to the ACTH that is produced by the animal itself (as opposed to synthetic ACTH, which is used for diagnostic testing purposes).

  • Serum is the liquid portion of blood. Serum is collected by placing a tube of clotted blood in a machine called a centrifuge, which spins the blood very quickly in a small circle, forcing the cells to the bottom of the tube and allowing the serum to sit on top. There are many substances in serum, including proteins, enzymes, lipids, hormones etc.

  • Electrolytes are the salts and metallic components that are dissolved within the blood serum, and are involved in most of the body's daily functions.

  • Serum iron tests are indicated when the results from a complete blood count (CBC) indicate that your pet is anemic (decreased red blood cell numbers and/or decreased hemoglobin) and that the red blood cells are microcytic (smaller than usual) and hypochromic (contain less hemoglobin than usual).

  • Serum is the liquid portion of blood from which the red blood cells, white blood cells, and factors involved in blood clotting have been removed.