By Dr. Dan Meakin
Have you ever wondered why your veterinarian recommends bloodwork on your pet if they aren’t showing signs of illness? This article is designed to demystify that recommendation and help you better understand how important lab work is to our cherished pets.
Pets, unlike most humans, are masters at hiding signs of illness for long periods of time. There are many reasons for this beginning with the solid fact that they cannot talk to us, and communicate things when they are minor. Also, animals that appear weakest are attacked first by predators, so in order to survive, animals mask their weakness/illness.
Because animals mask their pain/sickness so well, a seemingly healthy pet could be hiding a deadly disease. We know from human medicine that early detection/diagnosis is often the key to survival. Bloodwork plays a huge part in the early detection of disease.
Blood values often change slowly over time when diseases are just beginning. Kidney function is an excellent model of this behavior. Cats don’t typically show outward signs of kidney disease until they have only around 30 percent of their kidney function remaining. Often one blood panel can’t tell the whole story, as a cat or dog may have kidney
disease but their kidney values can be in the normal range. What that one blood panel can’t tell you is that 6 months ago, the values were lower than this time. And 6 months from now they will be higher. This change over time can help diagnose kidney disease before losing 70 percent kidney function.
With multiple bloodpanels we can evaluate trending, and diagnose disease much earlier; leading to, a longer, happier life. Many times a diet change can prevent a disease from becoming a chronic condition.
Bloodwork can also show what pets hide so well. Blood panels combined with urinalysis are extremely effective at early disease detection. At All Creatures we utilize a blood panel that also includes a thyroid level, giving us a very good picture of your pet’s overall health.
Concerned that bloodwork is too expensive? Consider signing up for a pet wellness plan. At All Creatures, you can customize the plan to include yearly, or bi-annual blood panels along with your pet’s required vaccinations, examinations and diagnostics. This can then be a convenient monthly payment instead of a large out of pocket expense. Still have questions about whether or not your pet needs bloodwork? Chances are, he does!
Dr. Dan Meakin is the owner of All Creatures Animal Hospital, 1894 Ohio Pike in Amelia. Call (513) 797-PETS.