Blood & Laboratory Analysis - A physical exam of the internal functions of the body
Even pets that appear happy and healthy can have hidden medical problems that might grow serious, even life-threatening, if left undetected. Lab tests are essential for identifying diseases at the earliest most treatable stage possible.
The Importance of Laboratory Tests
Pets can’t tell us when they’re ill - lab tests can frequently detect illness in your pet before we see any outward signs of disease. And, treating your pet early can lead to a better outcome and possibly lower treatment costs.
Detection through lab tests helps prevent and treat potentially dangerous illnesses. Sick or senior pets often have more than one disease affecting them, complicating diagnosis and treatment. Lab tests can help pinpoint the problems. Some medications can harm pets with underlying problems like kidney or liver disease. Blood tests can ensure your pet is healthy enough to take the medication and identify unwanted side effects of medications. Even in young and healthy pets, lab testing gives us a valuable baseline picture of what represents good health for your individual pet and rules out hereditary disease. A recommended part of your pet’s annual exam, lab tests can spot health trends sooner, before they become more serious.
Common blood tests used by veterinarians
- Complete Blood Cell Count (CBC) provides important information about the types and number of blood cells in your pet’s blood. A low red blood cell count, for example, indicates anemia, while a high white blood cell count can indicate an infection, chronic inflammation or other disease process.
- Blood Chemistry Profile is particularly important for evaluating organ function (e.g. liver, kidneys, pancreas), electrolytes, blood sugar,screening for presence of an endocrine disorder, etc. Any abnormalities will help us decide on further diagnostic tests or treatments.
- A Heartworm Test can detect evidence of heartworm disease before significant damage is done to the heart. It can take years for a pet to develop symptoms of heartworm disease. Early diagnosis minimizes damage to the heart and decreases the risk of treatment.
- Intestinal Parasite Test screens are performed to prevent zoonotic diseases (transmissible to people) and to prevent illness in your pet.
- A Urinalysis screens for dehydration, urinary tract infections, bladder/kidney crystals and stones, kidney damage/ failure, inflammation of the urinary tract, diabetes mellitus, cancer of the urinary tract, endocrine diseases such as cushings and diabetes insipidus, blood disease, and liver disease
Questions & Answers
Why does my young dog need annual blood tests? When basic lab testing is done as part of your pet’s annual exam, the results are recorded. We can then review your pet’s chart at each subsequent exam and spot any abnormalities or trends sooner, before serious diseases can develop.
My 8-year-old cat is perfectly healthy but the doctor suggested a group of blood tests as part of her annual examination. Why?
Older animals are more at risk for chronic conditions like kidney or liver disease and endocrine problems. Early on, there may not be any outward signs of trouble, so your pet may still seem quite normal. More frequent testing can help catch potential health problems in the early stages, before they become more difficult to manage or even life-threatening
Benefits of in-house diagnostics and bloodwork
When your pet is sick, you don't want to wait days to get the results of blood tests and start his or her treatment. Our in-house diagnostic lab decreases the time and energy necessary to get your pet the blood tests he or she needs.
Having a sick pet can be a scary thing. After all, they are part of the family. We want to ease some of your anxiety and get your pet on the road to wellness quickly. That's why we've invested in an in-house diagnostic lab. Call us today at Startown Veterinary Hospital to learn more about our in-house testing lab or to make an appointment for your pet.