Even pets that appear happy and healthy can have hidden medical problems that might grow serious, even life-threatening, if left undetected. Blood tests are essential for identifying diseases at the earliest most treatable stage possible.
Detection through blood tests helps prevent and treat potentially dangerous illnesses. Sick or senior pets often have more than one disease affecting them, complicating diagnosis and treatment. Blood 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. Even in young and healthy pets, lab testing gives us a valuable baseline picture of what represents good health for your individual pet. A recommended part of your pet’s annual exam, blood tests can spot health trends sooner, before they become more serious
Standard blood test panels for dogs and cats routinely check for many problems. Most commonly we will look at:
• 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), electrolytes, blood sugar, screening for presence of an endocrine disorder, etc. Any abnormalities will help us decide on further diagnostic tests or treatments.
• Heartworm Test can detect evidence of heartworm disease. For a more complete picture, we will often combine a blood panel with other tests, such as a urinalysis and fecal examination.
When can I expect results?
Many of the tests routinely recommended can be performed in-clinic, providing results quickly and allowing for immediate treatment of your pet, but some routine screening tests will be sent to the reference laboratory which provides results often the next day. Normal results can rule out certain diseases immediately, so you can worry less. Your veterinarian will also store this information for the life of your pet and use it to understand your unique pet better. If results are abnormal, your veterinarian can make decisions about next steps, including treatment and additional tests. This saves you time as well as trips back and forth to your veterinarian and gives you answers that may help your pet right away.
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