Most of us treat our pets like they are part of the family. Because of this, it can be easy to forget that they are not far removed from wild animals and still have many of the same instincts and tendencies that allowed the species to survive all these years. One of these instincts still in play is the act of hiding any signs of weakness, sickness, or pain from the outside world – avoiding potential predation as they get better. This is one of the reasons behind the importance of annual blood tests for pets. You get to ‘have eyes’ on what they are not telling you before conditions get out of hand.
It happens all the time. A pet parent comes in with a pet they assume is in perfect health only to find out that they have been developing a serious health condition for quite some time. Additionally, it’s only getting more complicated as it advances into later stages. This is not an experience anybody wants to go through.
The good news is that we have some very simple yet powerful ways to detect early signs of disease far before they become a pressing issue for your pet’s health. Bringing your pet in for an annual wellness exam is one of the most effective methods you can use to get ahead of potential pet health issues. One of the tools we use during a wellness exam is a blood test.
Early detection through blood tests helps to deal with difficult situations before they arise. Senior pets, for instance, often have multiple diseases affecting their health. This makes pinpointing a diagnosis, prescribing proper medications, and assigning an at home care routine much more challenging. A full blood panel can help ensure your pet gets the exact care they need for complicated situations.
What Does A Blood Test?
There are three primary observations that a standard blood panel provides. These standard observations are:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) - This test shows your veterinarian the numbers of each of your pet’s blood cells – red, white, and platelets. Low red blood cells can suggest anemia, high white cell count can suggest inflammation, and low platelet count can suggest a problem with clotting. This is an overly simplified example with many more factors involved, but you can get the picture.
- Blood Chemistry Profile - This test allows your vet to understand the state of your pet’s organ health, electrolyte balance, endocrine health, blood sugar levels, and more. This test is vitally important to get a full picture of the internal ecosystem of your pet’s unique body. For instance, if blood sugar levels are high, it could be an early sign of diabetes. The idea here is to get a full overview of your pet’s internal chemistry. This provides a baseline to work with over time – we can reference each test over the years to see any changes as your pet matures.
- Heartworm Testing - Parasites are a common issue among the pet population. Because of this, heartworm testing is a standard part of the blood panel. Making sure to undergo preventive treatment if you live in an area known for high-populations of heartworm is important, and these tests can help you monitor the situation.
There are a few more tests that can be done when more detailed or specific information is required. This is only done when needed, often due to an underlying issue that is detected in a standard blood panel that requires further investigation.
The importance of annual blood tests for pets cannot be overstated. This is especially true when it comes to senior pets. Even if your pet looks like they are in top shape for their age there could be some serious underlying conditions developing that can often only be detected through blood tests. This is one of the best tools we have in preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease. If you’d like to schedule a wellness visit, reach out to us here at Bridge Park Animal Hospital today! We would love to have you and your pet stop by. If anything, remember that we are always here to help with whatever you need. Call us at 770-569-5799 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.