Why should my pet have an annual blood test?
Courtesy of True North Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Certain diseases like early liver or kidney disease can go undetected even with a thorough history and physical examination. Early detection of underlying problems can greatly affect the prognosis, as many chronic diseases can be well managed with medications. We will likely recommend some tests, which may include:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This common test measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a blood sample. Red cells carry oxyfen, white cells fight infection and platelets help prevent bleeding. Internal or external parasites or inflammation may be reflected by specific changes in the CBC.
This measures electrolytes (e.g. sodium and potassium) and enzymes providing information on how organs, such as kidneys, pancreas and liver are functioning. The results of these tests help your veterinarian formulate a diagnosis, prescribe proper therapy and monitor the response to treatment. Further testing may be recommended based on the results of these tests. A thyroid level may also be included depending on your pet's history and physical examination findings.
Laboratory analysis of urine is an invaluable tool. The test can detect the presence of one or more specific substances that normally do not appear in urine, such as protein, crystals, glucose, blood and cells. It is also important to know if the urine is dilute or concentrated. Together with a chemistry panel and CBC, urinalysis aids in the diagnosis of urinary tract infections, diabetes, dehydration, kidney problems and many other conditions.
If your pet is healthy and the blood work is all normal - this is excellent news!
This valuable information provides a baseline for any changes that may develop in the future. If your veterinarian is prescribing medication it is a good idea to have baseline blood work beforehand as some medications may affect health or lab values.