Why Does My Pet Need Annual Bloodwork?

When it comes to our pets, we often think about any “testing” as being related to our pet being sick. Even for us humans, the thought of having our blood drawn can be a little bit frightening, and it is natural for us to feel the same for our pets. However, routine annual bloodwork is essential in helping our pets live long and healthy lives.

As our pets age, there can be internal changes that are happening that will not necessarily be accompanied by any physical symptoms. By having routine bloodwork, it creates a “baseline” for our individual pets for our Veterinarians to compare. Annual blood work, along with annual exams are a significant part of preventative care for our pets. Preventative screening can help catch any changes or illness in our pets early, and in the end, can help avoid significant medical expenses. Additionally, if our pets are on medication, routine bloodwork helps to ensure accurate dosing and if there are any complications associated with the medications.

What are they testing for?

Annual blood screening will test for a range of values that involve organ function. At Clarkson Village Animal Hospital we have two routine wellness panels for dogs and for cats we have different tests are depending on your pet’s needs, and your Veterinarian will always discuss the various panels, and recommend the best one for your pet.

For our dogs who are under the age of 7, with no health concerns, we would do a blood screen that would look for early signs of liver or kidney disease, and we would do a “complete blood count” which would look at red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and reticulocytes. This would indicate any inflammation or infection. Additionally, we would screen for the following tick-borne disease: Lyme, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Heartworm.

For our dogs who are over the age of 7, or may have elevated values we would use a more comprehensive panel. With this panel, we are still testing liver and kidney values, and we again would do a complete blood count, as well as screen for the tick-borne disease mentioned above. However, this panel has the addition of electrolytes, cholesterol values, as well as will test for any issues with the Thyroid, which becomes more of a problem as our dog’s age.

For our cats, we have only one panel because unlike dogs, cats can develop issues at any age. Our wellness profile for cats includes the complete blood count, which similarly to dogs will test for inflammation and infection, as well as look at kidney and liver functions. We also test electrolyte levels and thyroid levels in this routine panel. Under the discretion of the Vegetarian and your pet’s needs, this blood panel can include a urinalysis which analyses our pet’s urine, as well as kidney and liver functions.

With everything a blood test can show, that the eyes cannot see, it is very important to do regular bloodwork to ensure our pets live long and healthy lives!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our hospital at 905-855-2100.