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Animal care continues to advance PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:37

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Modern equipment is vital in diagnosing and treatment animals, like this equipment at Liberal Animal Hospital. L&T photo/Elly Grimm

ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times

Veterinarians everywhere are always looking for ways to make sure they are giving the best care they can to the animal patients who walk through their doors and recently, the staff at the Liberal Animal Hospital purchased some new testing equipment that will help with just that.
“As long as I’ve been here, we’ve had the ability to do a lot of our testing in-house like blood counts and chemistry enzymes, that type of thing, which lets us check kidney function and liver function,” Liberal Animal Hospital’s Dr. Brett Jones said. “We keep expanding the tests we can do and most recently, we added a test called the SDMA (symmetric dimethylarginine) and it’s really unique in how it lets us detect kidney failure and problems much more quickly than before. Before, we couldn’t prove an animal was having kidney problems or kidney failure until there was 75 percent loss of function. We were always in trouble because when we were able to diagnose kidney problems, we were past repair and now, with this new test, we’re able to screen and detect if they’re having problems much earlier and then start treating the underlying causes and hopefully prevent further issues. We have incorporated this into our normal blood screenings and several times, I’ve been able to pick up an early kidney failure we didn’t even know was going on just by luck because that blood work was done. It helps us out as far as quality of medicine and the animal’s quality of life.”
While the testing has only been at the Liberal Animal Hospital about a month, Jones said he is already seeing some great benefits from having it available.
“The big thing about having this available is being able to pick up kidney issues before they become bad and it helps me know not only that those kidney problems are going on, but also to communicate with the owner what that prognosis is,” Jones said. “Our greatest benefit is we can stage that and see what’s going to happen because there’s no transplants or dialysis like what’s available for humans. It’s simple screenings and picking up on issues before they become unmanageable. Just like a human physical, you go to your doctor so they can do their tests and see what’s going on.”
And there are many things that will be able to be determined from the tests, Jones said, as well as many other benefits besides just the health of the pet.
“We also look at the urine produced by the kidney since we’re looking for infection and bacteria and crystals that could be bladder stones,” Jones said. “One of the pieces of equipment we have tests it and takes pictures of every sample, and that’s saved in the records so down the road, I won’t have to try and remember what happened, I can just go back and pull it up and see the pictures. It also helps with record-keeping and keeping track of an animal’s history, plus I can transfer that to another vet should the owners move somewhere else. It’s all part of that record.”
And similar to the recent digital x-ray technology purchase, Jones said there has been a very positive response to these tests as well. Jones also said he foresees the SDMA testing expanding throughout other veterinary offices.
“Especially with people who had a pet in the past who passed from kidney issues, they’re grateful we have the opportunity to find them early,” Jones said. “That’s a huge benefit for them. Technology is always progressing and expanding – the company we use, every month they send information on a new service or test that’s available and you have to think about if it could apply. There’s a lot that’s not exactly applicable to our area, but there’s others you definitely want to jump on, like this.”
Overall, it is another factor to keep track of as far as a pet’s overall health, Jones said.
“We often think about our dogs and cats mostly needing their annual vaccines, but there’s so much more as far as total wellness and I want to make sure to find potential problems ahead of time in a way that’s so much better and so we can help the animal,” Jones said.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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