Having a blood test done can be scary for many humans, so it is naturally to be fearful and curious when it comes to analyzing the blood of our pets. As veterinarians, we get asked a great deal of questions about the blood tests we perform. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we hear about blood work and your pet.
1. Why is regularly running my pet’s blood work important for her health?
By regularly testing your pet’s blood, our veterinarian at Memphis Animal Clinic can achieve two things. Firstly, if your pet is healthy, it enables our vet to create ‘baseline’ results, which can be used for comparison at a later date. Several years of ‘normal’ results show comprehensive tracking of the health and wellbeing of your pet, making it much easier for your professional to identify changes in the pattern.
Secondly, blood testing can help to detect illness in our pets. Our animals have evolved to try and hide any sign of weakness or vulnerability, making it very difficult for us as their owner to tell if they are unwell. Fortunately, a blood test can tell a professional a great deal about the wellness of a pet without there needing to be any visible symptoms.
2. What tests on my pet’s blood will be performed?
Much like human blood tests, animal blood work comprises of several different tests so that our veterinarian can obtain a complete picture of the health of your pet. These include:
A complete blood count (CBC)
This tells our vet if your pet is suffering from anemia, infection or inflammation. It can also let our vet know if your pet’s blood can clot properly should she suffer from internal or external bleeding.
A blood chemistry panel
As the name suggests, this test looks at the levels of different chemicals and other substances in our blood, such as proteins, hormones and electrolytes. These can tell your vet if your beloved animal is experiencing problems with kidney or liver function, if her thyroid is working as it should, and if there is any sign of diabetes amongst other medical conditions.
3. Why does my pet need a blood test ahead of having a general anesthetic?
If your pet is scheduled for a procedure that requires her to have a general anesthetic, our vet will need to check her blood work before her surgery. This will let our veterinary team know whether or not it is safe for your furbaby to go ahead with receiving the general anesthetic or whether the amount of anesthetic may need to be adjusted. In most instances, this blood work will be undertaken the morning of your pet’s procedure. Testing the same day as the surgery is easier and more convenient for most owners and their pets, plus it means that your animal will only need to fast once!
4. How will I be able to understand the results of the blood test?
In the case of routine blood work for which the results are deemed in the ‘normal’ range, chances are that you will be told little more than that the results are fine and being stored on your pet’s file. However, if there is anything to suggest that your pet may be developing a health problem, or that she is already battling some form of illness or disease, your veterinarian will discuss this with you in greater detail. In the majority of cases, further testing and investigation will be required so that an accurate diagnosis can be made, and the best treatment started.
5. How often should my pet have blood work done?
For cats and dogs aged 7 and under, most vets would recommend that your furbaby has routine blood work performed in line with her annual check-up, unless she is already suffering from poor health. However, older pets are significantly more likely to experience illness and disease, and so for senior animals, veterinarians suggest that the frequency of testing is increased. Speak to your veterinary team for an accurate recommendation as to how often your pet should have blood work done based on the individual needs and health of your creature.
Contact our Memphis, TN veterinary clinic today for early detection testing and more information on your pet’s bloodwork.