Pets can’t say how they’re feeling — it’s usually how they look of act that tells you something is wrong. Awareness of the warning signs and regular preventive health screens, including physical exam and blood work, are best ways to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy, and happy life.
When is blood work necessary?
- Sick and emergency situations. Blood work provides you with a valuable picture of your pet’s health and is often the first step when pets are brought into the clinic. It helps the veterinary staff make immediate decisions, so we can quickly help your pet.
- Preanesthetic testing. Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the unforeseen risk of anesthesia to your pet. Even apparently healthy, young pets can have serious organ system problems (e.g. congenital liver, kidney or heart disease) that cannot be detected without blood work. The liver and kidneys are the primary routes that the anesthetics are broken down and removed from the body. We strongly recommend that every pet should have blood testing performed prior to surgery. While performing blood work cannot guarantee that your pet will not have any problems during the procedure, it can significantly minimize the risk to your pet.
- Preventive care screening. Because the signs that your pet is sick are not always obvious, preventive care testing is recommended as part of your pet’s annual exam. Wellness screening not only uncovers disease before it’s too late, but can also help you avoid significant medical expenses and risks to your pet’s health.
- Medication monitoring. Some medications can have side effects. Periodic blood work while your pet is being treated can find these problems early and allow us to make necessary changes. With other medications, blood tests are need to ensure the dosage is appropriate.
What tests might we run?
There are tests that are routinely performed when blood work is recommended. They include:
- A complete blood count (CBC) tells if your pet has an infection, if inflammation is present, or if your pet is anemic. It is used to screen for things like stress, leukemia, bleeding problems and immunodeficiency.
- >A complete blood chemistry panel including electrolytes provides information about your pet’s liver, kidneys, and pancreas as well as other functions of the body, such as blood sugar and hydration.
- A urinalysis identifies an infection or inflammation in the urinary tract and is essential for a comprehensive evaluation of kidney function.
- A thyroid function test detects whether or not your pet’s thyroid gland is functioning properly. Thyroid disease is very common is older dogs and cats.