At least 5 times a day we have clients ask us “Does my pet really need that bloodwork?”. Our answer is always yes…not because we want to run a bunch of useless tests, but because we want to give your pet the best care possible and keep him/her healthy.
Did you know pets age 7-10x faster than humans do. One year in your cat or dog’s life is about the same as 7-10 years for you!
For senior pets we recommend routine bloodwork so we can monitor aging changes in your pet’s overall organ function. As your pets age body organs start losing normal function. Kidneys shrink, thyroid glands start under- or over-producing hormones, the liver starts to wear out. The routine bloodwork we recommend helps us to find those changes sooner than we normally would, allowing us to treat your pet more effectively.
One of our hardest obstacles is getting clients to run bloodwork on young pets. We always recommend bloodwork at the time of your pet’s spay/neuter. Pre-surgical blood tests on juvenile pets give us baseline data to compare to when your pet gets older.
These annual blood chemistry tests often get confused with annual heartworm testing by our clients. Yes, heartworm testing is also a blood test, but it’s a fairly inexpensive test compared to the recommended blood chemistry testing.
Both, heartworm testing and blood chemistry testing at annual physicals are recommended to keep your pet healthy.
A physical exam detects problems on your pet’s outside. Blood tests make sure they are similarly healthy on the inside.
What does all this blood chemistry mean?
The short answer: It means we can potentially add an additional year or two to your pet’s life by doing a simple blood test that can detect organ changes early enough for us to start treatment.
The long answer:
If we send your pet’s blood to the lab, it may include:
1. Complete Blood Count (CBC), including hematocrit, hemoglobin, blood parasite screen, and white cell count.
2. Comprehensive Chemistry Profile, including tests of the liver, kidney, pancreas, blood protein levels, electrolytes, Calcium and blood sugar screening for diabetes.
3. T4 which checks thyroid changes in your pet.
4. Urinalysis which includes urine glucose, urine protein, blood, bacteria, and calculi.
So, at your pet’s next annual physical exam, please take your veterinarians recommendations seriously and plan to do annual heartworm testing as well as blood chemistry testing. The price is small compared to all the extra time it can add to your pet’s life.