Why Is Blood Work So Important?
Medicine is complicated stuff! Add to that your pets inability to tell us what’s wrong and we’ve got big questions! A physical exam is important, and a history of what has been going on at home is very helpful but that’s not always enough.
When your pet is ill blood work can give us a valuable picture of your pet’s overall health. Some tests that your Vet might run are a CBC: (complete blood count) This is a screen for anemia, inflammation, infection, stress, bleeding problems, inability to fight infection among others. A blood chemistry panel provides information about the kidneys, liver, pancreas, blood sugar, and hydration. Diseases it might uncover include: Diabetes, Kidney failure, Liver disease, Thyroid abnormalities, and Pancreatitis to name a few. Electrolytes tell us about imbalances, and hydration.
Just as important as blood work is the urinalysis. This is essential for complete evaluation of kidney function and, in fact information obtained from the urine sample can be one of the first warnings of kidney disease. Also if you think a urinary tract infection is no big deal, think again! They can be deadly.
Other reasons we might do blood work include pre anesthetic testing. This tells us if your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia and/or if we need to make adjustments to our protocol. We also monitor medications with blood work. Some medications can have side effects and monitoring will help to find any problems and make changes if needed. Blood work also lets us to monitor the efficacy of some medications. In other words: Is your pet getting therapeutic levels of his/her medication.
Lastly, we recommend doing blood work as a preventative! ( Especially in our senior pets) Not only does this allow us to catch disease in its early stages, and therefore treat more effectively, it can save you money in the long run. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!