Your dog can’t tell you how he’s feeling—it’s usually how they look or act that is the first sign that something may be wrong. You as the owner play an integral role in helping your dog combat illness and stay as healthy as possible. That responsibility includes having an awareness of warning signs, knowing and preparing for appropriate first aid scenarios, and regular vet visits. Your vet may also recommend preventive health screening additions like blood work and other tests. Here are a few scenarios in which you may want to consider additional health screening for your dog.
When is blood work necessary?
In emergency situations: blood work provides you and your vet with a valuable picture of your pet’s health. It is often the first step in an exam when a pet is brought in to a clinic because they are sick or in an emergency situation. It helps the veterinary staff make immediate decisions so they can quickly help your pet.
Prior to a major procedure:
health screenings and blood work are routinely done prior to any major procedure being done on your pet. This helps the staff learn whether or not anesthesia is safe for your pet and allows them to make adjustments if hey see anything abnormal.
As a preventative measure:
because the signs your dog is sick are not always obvious, a health screening is often recommended as a part of your pet’s annual exam. It can uncover disease before it’s too late, and help you avoid significant medical expenses or risks to your pet’s health. As your pet ages, it becomes more important to take advantages of preventative measures like these.
For medication monitoring:
since some medications may have side effects, periodic blood work may be recommended during a course of medication for your pet, as a way to find these problems early and allow for changes to their course of treatment. With other medications, blood tests may be needed to ensure appropriate doses.
What health screening tests will my veterinarian run?
There are a few tests that are routinely performed when blood work is recommended by a vet. These can include the following.
- Complete blood count (CBC): This will tell you if your dog has an infection, if inflammation is present, or if your dog is anemic.
- Complete blood chemistry panel: A panel will provide you with information about your pet’s liver, kidneys, and pancreas, as well as other functions of the body like blood sugar and hydration.
- Urinalysis: This can identify an infection or inflammation of the urinary tract.
- Thyroid function test: This test will detect whether or not your pet’s thyroid gland in functioning normally. Thyroid disease is quite common in older dogs.
More often than not, doing blood work on your healthy pet will bring back normal results. However, if you’ve noticed your dog is more lethargic than usual, their appetite has changed, or you’ve begun noticing other behavioral changes that cannot be explained, it could be that something else is going on internally.