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Health Screen Tests

Health screen tests at Animal Care of Gloucester include: 

  • Renal Disease Screening (SDMA)

  • Cardiomyopathy Screening (proBNP)

  • MDR1 Genetic Testing

  • Heartworm Screening

  • Feline Aids

  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV)

  • Orothpedic Screening 

  • Hip Dysplasia 

  • Elbow Dysplasia

Renal Disease Screening (SDMA)

SDMA (symmetric dimethylargine) is a renal bio-marker specific to kidney function. It has proven to be a more reliable indicator of kidney function than creatinine, enabling your veterinarian to detect both acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease years earlier.

In their lifetime, over 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will get kidney disease. Worse, they typically show no signs of illness until their kidneys have lost most of their function permanently. As pets age, the likelihood pets will develop kidney disease worsens. In fact, more than half of cats over age 15 are afflicted.


SDMA screening is part of your pet’s annual recommended preventative blood work.  This gives you and your veterinarian the chance to take action and give your pet the best shot for a healthy, happy, long life — even with kidney disease.

Hip Dysplasia 

Canine hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joint) begins when the hip joint in a young dog becomes loose or unstable. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this instability causes abnormal wear of the hip cartilage and ultimately progresses to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Signs of this condition are pain, reluctance to get up or exercise, difficulty climbing stairs, a “bunny-hopping” gait, limping, and lameness, especially after periods of inactivity or exercise.

Hip dysplasia most commonly affects large- and giant-breed dogs; however, smaller dogs can also be affected. Although genetics often play a role in this disorder, young dogs that grow or gain weight too quickly or get too much high-impact exercise are also at risk. Being overweight can aggravate hip dysplasia.

We can help prevent or slow this condition by monitoring food intake and ensuring that your dog gets proper exercise as he or she ages. We can also screen your dog for hip dysplasia, using one of two methods. The earlier we can diagnose hip dysplasia, the better the possible outcome for your dog.

OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Certification:

We can x-ray your dog’s hips for hip dysplasia at 2 years of age. We will forward these radiographs to the OFA, where board-certified radiologists will evaluate and grade your dog’s hips for OFA certification. Correct positioning of your dog is essential for proper radiographic evaluation, so a general anesthetic is required to make the procedure less stressful for him or her.

PennHIP Method:

We can x-ray your dog’s hips using the PennHIP method for evaluating hip dysplasia in dogs, which can be performed much earlier (at 16 weeks of age) than OFA certification. Requiring a general anesthetic, it involves x-raying your dog’s hips in three different positions to measure how loose the joints are and determine the presence or likelihood of osteoarthritis. If you are a breeder, consider using this test to help you select good breeding candidates at a younger age. If your dog competes athletically, consider using this technique to evaluate the future soundness of your dogs or puppies.

Please call us to discuss your dog’s risk of developing hip dysplasia, to schedule a screening, or to discuss treatment options.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a condition caused by the abnormal growth of cells, tissue or bone. The cause of elbow dysplasia in your dog may be combination of several different factors including: defects in their cartilage growth, trauma, genetics, exercise or diet. These factors lead to a mismatch of growth between your dog’s radius and ulna, two bones in the forelimb part of their leg. Elbow dysplasia is the most common cause of elbow pain and lameness and large breed or giant breed dogs are most commonly affected. Clinical symptoms usually present by 4 to 10 months of age, however diagnosis typically occurs sometime between 4 to 18 months.


Symptoms of elbow dysplasia may include:

  • Acute episodes of elbow lameness in senior dogs

  • Intermittent or persistent forelimb lameness (aggravated by exercise, progresses from stiffness and noticed only after the dog has been resting)

  • Pain when extending or flexing the elbow

  • Holding the affected limb away from the body

  • Fluid build-up in the joint

  • Grating of bone and joint with movement may be detected with advanced degenerative joint disease

  • Diminished range of motion

Treatment is personalized and will depend on your dog’s age, the degree of their pain and the severity of the joint defect. Treatments may include:

  • Referral to a veterinary orthopedic surgeon for surgery or rehabilitation therapies

  • Pain management procedures including k laser therapy

  • Anti-inflammatory medications or shots

  • Joint supplements

  • Healthy exercise

Many dogs respond well to treatments and will go on to live normal, active lives. The prognosis will ultimately depend on your dog’s age, their overall health, and the severity of the joint defect.

If you are concerned that your dog may have a joint problem please contact us today for an appointment.

Basset Hound Check-Up
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