Even pets that appear completely healthy can have hidden health problems. Left undetected, these problems can lead into serious, even life-threatening conditions.
Blood tests are essential tools for identifying diseases at the earliest stage possible, when they are the most treatable.
Your veterinarian may recommend blood tests to:
- Screen your pet for potential developing problems so they can be treated before they become serious.
- Make sure your pet is healthy enough to take certain medications, particularly if there is an underlying problem, such as kidney or liver disease
- Establish a baseline picture of what represents good health for your individual pet
Why does my young dog need early detection bloodwork?
When basic laboratory testing is done as part of your pet’s annual examination, those values are recorded. Your veterinarian can review your pet’s health record at each subsequent exam, and spot any abnormalities or trends sooner, often before serious disease can develop.
What’s involved in a routine Early Detection Bloodwork?
The routine early detection bloodwork includes a complete blood count, biochemical profile, electrolytes, heartworm, ehrlichia, anaplasmosis and lyme diseases (tick borne diseases) tests evaluating kidney and liver functions, ruling out anemia and certain types of cancer. That’s a total of over 20 tests.
What’s involved in a senior Early Detection Bloodwork?
The senior wellness profile includes everything above as well as thyroid screening but in much greater detail. The total number of tests are over 40.
That way, your veterinarian can spot serious health trends sooner, before they become more serious.
What does a blood test look for?
Standard blood test panels for dogs and cats routinely check for many types of problems.
Some common blood tests include:
A Complete Blood Count (CBC) – provides important information about the types and numbers of blood cells in your pet’s blood. A low number of red blood cells, for example, indicates anemia, while a high number of white blood cells can indicate an infection, chronic inflammation, or other disease process.
A Blood Chemistry Profile – particularly important for evaluating organ function (e.g. liver, kidneys), electrolytes, blood sugar, screening for clues that an endocrine disorder may be present, etc. Any abnormalities will help direct your pet’s veterinarian on any further diagnostic tests that may be necessary.
A T4 – measures the level of a thyroid hormone and helps to screen for hypothyroidism (low) and hyperthyroidism (too high) diseases
A Heartworm Test – which can detect evidence of heartworm disease.
An Ehrlichia Test – which can detect this potentially fatal disease, transmitted by ticks
A Lyme Disease Test – detects another potentially disastrous disease, transmitted by tick
A vital tool for screening out disease
When pets are sick, they can’t tell us what’s wrong. That is where laboratory testing comes into play.
The importance of blood tests
Blood tests can be used to detect, treat and prevent potentially dangerous illnesses.
Sick or older animals often have more than once disease process affecting them at the same time, complicating diagnosis and treatment. Blood tests can help pinpoint specific problems.
In addition, some medications can be harmful if your pet has certain underlying problems, such as kidney or liver disease. In such cases, your veterinarian may order blood tests to make sure your pet is healthy enough to take the medication.
Finally, even in young and healthy pets, laboratory testing helps your veterinarian establish a baseline picture of what represents god health for your individual pet.
Blood tests are recommended as part of your pet’s annual physical examination.
Before anesthesia is administered, as an essential part of patient evaluation in preparation for a medical procedure or surgery. Your veterinarian will decide which tests are most important to run.
As part of your pet’s annual physical examination, both to spot problems as early as possible and to develop a baseline picture of your pet’s health.
If your veterinarian suspects a health problem and needs additional information to make an accurate or complete diagnosis.
Whenever your veterinarian recommends medications for your pet that might be contraindicated if he or she has certain underlying diseases.
How blood samples are collected
Your veterinarian or a registered veterinary technician can usually collect any needed blood samples during an office visit.
In some cases, however, blood samples need to be drawn at specific times over an extended period. Your pet may need to be kept at the hospital for a few hours or, in certain circumstances, overnight.