Keep Them Healthy! Routine Pet Blood Work and Wellness Exams
Your pet seems healthy, and has never had any health problems before, so why do we suggest routine blood work at their annual wellness examinations? Although it may sound simple to rely on your pet’s behavior to tell whether or not they’re sick, the truth is that pets are hard-wired to hide signs of illness or injury.
Pet blood work, along with regular wellness exams, is the key to detecting hidden health problems in your pet and nipping them in the bud before they become more serious.
Pet Blood Work
Pet blood work is an important tool in the healthcare arsenal of both young and old pets. For younger pets, establishing a “health baseline” through routine blood work and other diagnostic testing gives us an idea of your pet’s normal levels, allowing us to quickly spot any abnormalities or trends in future tests.
Older pets are at an increased risk for chronic conditions such as kidney disease, endocrine problems, or cancer, which can be more easily caught early through frequent testing (we recommend senior pets come in for wellness checkups every six months).
Pets with chronic conditions, and those about to undergo surgery, also benefit from blood work. We are able to determine whether or not certain medications and anesthesia are safe, and can continually monitor ongoing conditions.
What We Look For
Standard blood panels for both dogs and cats are typically comprised of the following diagnostic tests:
Complete blood cell count (CBC) – A CBC measures the number of erythrocytes (red blood cells), the number and type of leukocytes (white blood cells), the number of thrombocytes (platelets), and hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. Low erythrocyte levels can indicate anemia, while high leukocytes can be a result of infection, disease, or chronic illness, for example.
Blood chemistry profile – The blood chemistry portion of the test measures kidney function, liver function, electrolyte levels, blood sugar levels, and more. Any abnormalities discovered in the blood chemistry profile will help us pinpoint the need for further diagnostics or treatment.
Heartworm test – This important test tells us whether or not the heartworm parasite is present in your pet’s blood. Pets need to have a negative heartworm test in order to receive a prescription for heartworm preventive medication.
The Importance of Annual Wellness Exams
Helping your pet live a happy, healthy, and long life means being proactive when it comes to their wellness care. Adhering to your pet’s regularly scheduled wellness exams, and following your veterinarian’s recommendations for diagnostic testing can make all the difference in your pet’s comfort level and longevity.