Why bloodwork is an important part of your pet’s healthcare plan.
When is bloodwork needed?
- During sick exams or visits. Bloodwork can help determine the cause of your pet’s illness.
- As a pre-anesthetic screening. Bloodwork helps us determine if it is safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia. If we note any problems we can also make adjustments if necessary.
- Preventive care or wellness visits. Pets can’t always tell us when they are sick. Preventive care or wellness bloodwork helps us uncover illness before it causes a problem and allows us to intervene early.
- Medication monitoring. Bloodwork is often performed to check the effectiveness or response to certain medications. It can also help us monitor how your pet is doing on certain medications.
What tests are typically included in bloodwork?
- CBC– also known as a complete blood count. This test looks at white and red blood cells and can detect inflammation, infection, anemia and sometimes certain types of cancer.
- Chemistry profile- This test looks at organ function. It gives us an idea about how your pet’s liver, kidneys, pancreas and other organs are functioning. It also can help determine hydration status and blood sugar.
- Urinalysis- A urinalysis helps us monitor kidney function and can also detect inflammation or infection in the bladder or kidneys.
- Thyroid testing– Thyroid testing helps determine if the thyroid is functioning appropriately. Older dogs and cats frequently have thyroid disease.
- Cardiac BNP– This is a newer test that can help determine if the heart is functioning appropriately. This test is particularly important for cats who can have no murmur or outward signs of heart issues and still have significant heart disease.
Three examples of why bloodwork is so important!
Dexter came in as a very young puppy. He was having trouble with vomiting after eating. He was growing normally, was bright and alert and playful. However, since he was vomiting frequently after eating we decided to run some bloodwork on him. Even though he was under a year old, Dexter’s early bloodwork ultimately saved his life. Dexter’s chemistry panel revealed that his kidneys were not functioning normally, in fact they were shutting down. His urine sample also confirmed this and showed that there was some damage within the kidneys themselves. Dexter had kidney biopsies done and it was determined that he had a rare form of auto immune kidney disease. With the correct medication we were able to manage the disease and get Dexter feeling better. We monitor his bloodwork and urine every 4-6 months now to make sure there are no changes to his health and that his kidneys are maintaining normal function.
Sherman is an older dog who came in for a dental cleaning. Sherman had pre anesthetic bloodwork performed which showed that his platelet count was very low. Platelets are needed for the blood to clot normally, so when they are low bleeding problems can occur. Sherman’s procedure was postponed since it would put him at increased risk of complications. We started him on medications to help increase his platelet count and re checked his CBC’s until his platelets were in a normal range. If bloodwork is abnormal prior to surgery it is important to know. Certain things may prevent your pet from having anesthesia or place them at an increased risk. Bloodwork helps determine that.
Cutie is an older cat with a history of some vomiting. He was losing weight despite good control of his vomiting. His exam was pretty normal, he had a full ultrasound of his abdomen and nothing was detected. We ran bloodwork on Cutie that included a Pro BNP level. This level was determined to be extremely high, indicating heart disease. Cat’s can be very difficult to detect heart disease in sometimes. They can have no clinical signs or a murmur, and yet have significant heart issues. Cutie’s BNP indicated that he needed an echocardiogram or ultrasound of the heart. He is now on medications to treat his heart disease as well and will hopefully avoid issues that would have gone undetected due to his heart disease.
Do you think your pet would benefit from some bloodwork? Do you have more questions about the testing? Call us to set up an appointment today! 860-669-5721. You can also use our online appointment request form.