Primary Care

Full Diagnostics

While regular wellness exams establish a strong baseline for health, sometimes pets get sick.

At VCA Carpinteria Veterinary Hospital we use state of the art diagnostic tools to gain a complete assessment of your pet’s health, initiating any necessary treatments quickly, and enhancing their effectiveness. Our same day urgent appointments, diagnostic services, and surgery capabilities help us to help you avoid expensive emergency hospital bills.

Digital X-Ray

Is your pet limping? Might they have eaten something they shouldn’t? Digital x-rays allow our veterinarians to examine your pet's skeleton, internal organs and other areas of the body quickly and effectively. An x-ray can detect an obstruction or foreign body in your pet's stomach or intestine, diagnose fractured bones, reveal tumors, show bladder stones, and warn of heart problems, to name a few. Conditions that could become harmful if left unattended to can quickly be remedied and your pet can return home the same day. As an extra precaution, we have a board - certified radiologist review each x-ray that is taken in our hospital. We also have the ability obtain a review of any x-ray from an on-call board certified radiologist in the case of an emergency.

Digital x-rays are available for review right away on a computer and can easily be emailed to another hospital or specialist if a referral or second opinion is necessary. Pets experience less time on the x-ray table, resulting in less stress for your pet. The harsh chemicals once used for developing traditional x-rays are not needed for digital x-ray, reducing the harm to staff and the environment.

Dental X-Ray

Dental radiographs are one of the most important tools we use in veterinary dentistry and are essential in order to make an accurate diagnosis. They are important in performing dental procedures, in evaluating the success of procedures (tooth extraction) and in documentation of dental health. They allow us to visualize the anatomy of the teeth including the roots and the bone that surrounds the tooth roots.

Two thirds of a dog or cat’s teeth are below the gum line, which cannot be visualized with an oral exam alone. Although we perform a thorough and comprehensive oral exam with every dental procedure, without dental radiographs, we cannot ensure that we will not be missing any dental problems that may need attention under the gum line. Dental radiographs help determine whether teeth might be abnormal, malpositioned, fractured, missing, non-vital (dead) or vital (alive), and help to detect bone loss from periodontal disease, and to confirm complete extraction of a tooth. They may also aid in the detection of cysts, destructive bone lesions or cancer, and fractures of the jaw.

Dental radiographs are performed using a small x-ray film placed inside the patient’s mouth. Because our veterinary patients will not cooperate when a dental radiograph film is placed in the mouth, it requires that the patient be anesthetized or heavily sedated.

Ultrasound Services

Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to assess your pet’s organs and soft tissue structures, which are not detectable with external examination or x-ray alone. A painless procedure requiring no anesthetic, ultrasound is an important non-invasive diagnostic tool that we utilize daily for routine senior/wellness screens, in emergency situations, to diagnose specific problems with your pet, or to aid us in obtaining minimally invasive diagnostic samples. 

All of our vets are comfortable and competent in performing abdominal ultrasonography, obtaining ultrasound-guided samples, as well as emergency scans of the abdomen, heart, and chest cavity. In addition, we also have a board certified veterinary radiologist scheduled to come to the hospital bi-weekly to perform abdominal and chest ultrasounds, as well as echocardiograms (ultrasound of the heart). 

Electrocardiographic Studies (ECG)

Abnormal heartbeats, or an arrhythmia, can cause your pet to feel ill or even faint and many indicate an underlying heart condition or other serious illness. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected on your pet’s physical examination, they may require an ECG. 

An ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart. It can be used to diagnose and better identify the type of arrhythmia that is affecting your pet. It is a simple and non-invasive test where wires are clipped to your pet’s skin. Other diagnostic tests may be required to further evaluate the cause of an abnormal rhythm and to offer the best treatment plan. 

Lab Work

In addition to utilizing a commercial full service veterinary laboratory for routine and specialized testing (veterinarians usually get results within 24 hours) we also have an in house laboratory, and when needed can quickly run diagnostic samples with immediate results.

In-House Lab Work:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Chemistry and electrolyte testing
  • Coagulation Testing (PT/PTT)
  • Cytology (looking at the cells of skin/ears/masses under a microscope)
  • FELV/FIV Testing
  • Heartworm Test
  • Snap cPL and Snap fPL (pancreatitis test for cats and dogs)Parvo snap test
  • DTM - dermatophyte testing media for fungus such as ringworm