Our pets instinctually hide illness, pain and weakness as a survival technique… and when we do notice a problem, often the issue has progressed to a point that is both life-threatening and expensive. For this reason, combined with the fact that dogs and cats are unable to communicate symptoms, veterinarians often recommend annual blood tests for their clients. It is an important tool used to discover potential issues before they become serious.
Besides a physical exam, lab work is the most important tool in a Vet’s diagnostic arsenal. In a situation where a pet is presenting symptoms of illness with no obvious cause, the blood test is often the only way we can arrive at an appropriate Treatment Plan in a timely fashion. However, we would prefer to prevent discomfort and disease in pets – therefore, a routine yearly CBC provides both a baseline as well as an early warning system for most diseases.
Carson, a 6-month old Golden Retriever, arrived at the hospital for his neuter surgery. He had shown no signs of illness, and was active and alert. Our pre-surgery protocol includes a CBC to ensure that all of our patients are healthy for anesthesia. Carson’s Organ-Function Panels were elevated, not enough to cancel surgery, but enough to prompt a conversation with his owners about dietary and treating habits. They had been unknowingly feeding him human food that is toxic to canines. Had we not had the opportunity to have the conversation with them, their vibrant young puppy could have sustained irreparable damage to his organs.
Petunia, a 10 year-old Himalayan cat arrived for annual vaccines. Because she is considered a “senior”, our recommendation was to run blood work to obtain baseline information. Her owner had noticed no symptoms or changes in behavior, but the blood workup indicated that Petunia was diabetic. Because Petunia was diagnosed in early stages, we were able to work with the client to create a Treatment Plan which resulted in Petunia reaching remission very quickly.
When your Veterinarian offers a Blood Test during your pet’s annual exam, please understand that it is not an attempt to “nickel and dime” the owner. Often the cost of a simple blood test can save you thousands of dollars in future treatment cost, and needless pain and suffering (as silent as it often is) for your pet.
At West Chester Veterinary Center, we have partnered with our Laboratory Services provider, IDEXX, to develop a “Junior-sized” Blood Panel work-up for our annual visits (asymptomatic patients). We are offering this service at a 15% discount with vaccines in January so that our patients can establish a baseline for reference in their charts. If you are currently up-to-date on the standard vaccines, please consider taking advantage of this offer to get started on vaccines, such as Influenza, Lyme and Leptospirosis, that are starting to be required in the Cincinnati area and are highly recommended by our medical team.