You walk into the veterinary clinic expecting to get 3-year-old Fluffy examined and vaccinated at her annual appointment. She’s been acting perfectly normal, and there are no negative changes to report to your veterinarian. So why the heck are the doctors recommending annual bloodwork?!
We like to think that if our pets are eating, drinking, not vomiting, and wagging their tails or purring, they’re in perfect health. Unfortunately, the reality is such that a huge number of chronic diseases only manifest into clinical symptoms when the disease has progressed into late stages, and this means that if they actually show us that they are feeling ill, it’s often too late to help them! We always monitor our pets by how well they are eating or drinking. If they go off their food or stop drinking, we worry, but even an increased appetite or drinking amount in our pets can be a bad thing sometimes, and the changes we see may be very small and go un-noticed!
Preventive annual bloodwork gives your veterinarian the extremely valuable ability to catch disease processes early, trend certain values, and to compare normal state bloodwork to abnormal state, when your pet is sick. Even our most basic wellness blood panel tests over 30 parameters that tell us a lot about how healthy your pet is on the inside!
Lifestage bloodwork – Why is the price of bloodwork different for a puppy or kitten versus a geriatric dog or cat?
In geriatric patients, we run more a more extensive panel, which includes values that are more likely to be abnormal in older patients. For example, thyroid disease is common in both older dogs and cats, so we typically don’t check this in our younger patients
On the other hand, running bloodwork on younger patients is ideal to find any congenital abnormalities with the organs. For example, we can pick up congenital kidney issues, liver shunts that occur in very young animals, and infectious processes while their immune systems are still developing.
Our bloodwork lab tests are designed in such a way that if we pick up certain abnormal values on the screening bloodwork, we are able to add on further values for more information to help us with our diagnoses. This means that your animal can get started on the treatment he or she needs as soon as possible.
This is important for patients of all ages, whether sick or healthy on clinical examination.
It would be highly irresponsible to put a patient under anesthetic for a surgery with a clotting disorder… but we would never know for sure about the cells that help to clot your pets’ blood or the red blood cell numbers if we did not go through with bloodwork pre-surgery! Not to say that preanaesthetic bloodwork negates any risk whatsoever of anaesthesia or surgery, but it can help us to decide on certain drug protocols for each individual pet, and may help us catch a lot of early organ/body changes.
At Erin Mills Pet Hospital, we strive to practice preventive medicine to the absolute fullest.
We (very understandably) would highly prefer to prevent diseases to the best of our abilities, as opposed to treating disease once the progression has become very advanced.
Our goal as a clinic is to prolong your pet’s life, while maintaining an adequate quality of life, and keeping them comfortable and happy. A huge part of that goal involves our excellent pet owners!!
All that being said, we are very excited to announce a new addition to our Wellness bloodwork profiles through IDEXX Laboratories, set to be in play in less than a month!
SDMA Testing – An Early Screening Test for Kidney Disease!
- Did you know that 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs could develop chronic kidney disease over their lifetime? ‘SDMA’ is a new kidney function test, that will help us detect kidney disease earlier in our patients.
- We will use this value, along with regular bloodwork, to improve the long-term well-being of our patients.
- Please feel free to ask your veterinarians at that next Erin Mills Pet Hospital visit, about SDMA, and what this could mean in terms of improved treatment and management of kidney disease in your pet!
Dr. Ashna Varma, BSc, BVM&S, MRCVS
(c) Erin Mills Pet Hospital