In ambulatory practice, there has traditionally been limited access to quick ancillary tests to aid the diagnostic process. However, over the past decades, diagnostic technologies have improved substantially, producing several accurate and cost-effective tests that can be used on-farm to establish a better diagnosis, a quick and informed therapeutic plan and help to determine the prognosis. Examples of these tests include the glutaraldehyde test for estimating the inflammatory response, tests to measure several metabolites (eg, glucose, ketone bodies, L-lactate) cow-side, or tests to identify different pathogens. This article aims to review the accuracy and practical applications of some of the different animal-side tests that are available to cattle veterinarians in an ambulatory setting, providing diagnostic tools that can be used in the field, without having to submit a sample to a laboratory, thereby expediting the clinical decision.
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