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How Important is Bloodwork for My Pet?

Published on October 10, 2014

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Blood Testing Provides Information that Saves and Extends Pet Lives  

More often than not I get asked the question by clients, “Is bloodwork really that necessary?”  Our beloved pets cannot always tell us how they are feeling nor do they show any signs of sickness.  As pet owners, we play a key role in keeping our pets as healthy as possible.  We want to make sure our family members live a long, healthy and happy life with us!  On a personal note before I became a veterinarian, my Australian shepherd was diagnosed with chronic lymphoid leukemia at age 10.  Going back through his records, there were signs of illness from the time he was 6 years old.  If I would have run annual bloodwork, I may have been able to better manage his disease and let him live a longer, fuller life .

Here are some examples of when bloodwork is necessary….

Preventive Care Screening: This is one of the most important reasons to run bloodwork on your pet.  Underlying illness does not always have visible signs and regular blood testing allows us to establish a baseline of health and identify irregularities before they become crises.  Kidney, thyroid, heart, and adrenal disease as well as diabetes, if caught early by regular screening, can all be managed long-term with medication which prolongs our pet’s life and avoids  expenses associated with emergency visits and hospital stays.

Sick and Emergency Situations: Bloodwork at this time is crucial for us to see the overall health of our pets and allows us to make any emergency decisions in regards to treatment quickly!

Pre-Anesthetic Testing: If our pets are undergoing any surgery, dentistry or other procedure that requires anesthesia, we would like to make sure anesthesia is safe and if we need to make any adjustments to anesthetic protocols if abnormalities are found.  We usually run bloodwork the morning of the procedure since that is the day the anesthesia will be performed.

Monitoring Bloodwork with Medication Use: Some medications we dispense are metabolized through certain organs and we would like to make sure we are not straining any of these while on medication; For example, an older dog with signs of arthritis may be prescribed a Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug such as Rimadyl (NSAID) to help with pain and inflammation.  These drugs are metabolized through the liver and can also affect the kidneys so we check the function of these organs regularly with our arthritic pets that are on NSAIDs.  With some other medications, bloodwork is a way for us to ensure that the correct dosage is being prescribed (i.e. running a T4 test to make sure the methimazole dose for a hyperthyroid cat is correct).

Any questions about bloodwork and if you would like to run bloodwork on your pet please don’t hesitate to contact me at sbroadhurst@pendervet.com

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