While they aren’t the most pleasant thing to have to go through, blood tests provide extremely useful information for both human and animal doctors. They are particularly beneficial when it comes to caring for our pets, who are verbally unable and naturally predisposed to be unwilling to show us that they are unwell.
Not only can blood testing paint a picture of the overall health and condition of your furbaby, it can also be used as a diagnostic tool should she suffer from a medical problem. Just as importantly, wellness blood screening is a crucial part of your pet’s preventative care. This is because in tracking the results from blood tests performed over the years, our veterinarian at Hoegemeyer Animal Clinic is better able to identify any subtle or serious changes that could indicate that your pet is suffering from an underlying illness. This will enable prompt further investigations, diagnosis and treatment which is more likely to lead for a better outcome for your pet. Animals who have good quality preventative care are less liable to suffer from painful, unpleasant and debilitating symptoms, require extensive and expensive treatments and suffer from long-term effects from any illness.
Wellness blood testing is something that is included in most preventative care packages offered by veterinarians or should be available as a standalone service.
What is involved in wellness blood testing for my pet?
A blood test for your pet is not dissimilar to that performed on a human, except that a little of your pet’s fur will need to be shaved to allow access to a vein. The process takes only a few minutes and your pet will only feel a small scratch as the needle goes in.
Once the blood test has been performed, the samples will be sent to the laboratory for analysis. Typically, your pet will have had two samples taken, one for a test called a complete blood count or CBC, the other called a blood chemistry profile.
Complete blood count
A complete blood count in a wellness blood test tends to check for four different things. These are:
- the number of red blood cells in the sample. This will show whether or not your pet is anemic.
- the number of white blood cells in the sample. A raised white blood cell count usually indicates infection, inflammation or some other disease that your pet’s body is trying to fight.
- the number of platelets. These have the job of helping your pet’s blood to clot should she be injured.
- the presence of eosinophils, a specific type of white blood cell that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.
A blood chemistry profile looks at certain chemicals, enzymes and hormones present in your pet’s sample to ensure that they are at a healthy level. Typically, a blood chemistry profile will check:
The information gained from a blood chemistry profile will enable our veterinarian to understand the current health of your pet’s organs as well other important information about her health and wellbeing. Thyroid disease and diabetes are more common as your pet ages, and a blood chemistry profile will show if there are any concerns regarding either of these health problems.
Most veterinarians offer wellness blood testing as part of their standard care, but if your pet has not yet had one, don’t hesitate to contact our veterinary team in Kerrville, TX to schedule an appointment. Even if your pet is perfectly healthy now, the results from early detection testing could prove invaluable for detecting a problem in the future.