If you visit our veterinarian in East Nashville and are told that they would like your pet to have some blood tests taken, it is understandable to feel concerned. In our eyes as humans, a blood test usually only ever happens when we are already unwell or suffering some unpleasant symptoms, and the doctors need to find out what is wrong. However, if our vet recommends that your pet is given a blood test there is not necessarily any reason to be alarmed.
Reasons why our vet might suggest your pet has blood work
There are a variety of reasons as to why our vet at Mobley Veterinary Center will request that your beloved furbaby has a blood test, and they may not be what you would expect.
1. Your pet needs a general anesthetic
If your pet needs a procedure that requires a general anesthetic, such as a professional dental clean or a surgery, he will first need a blood test. This is performed with safety in mind as the results will tell our vet if your pet is healthy enough to go through a general anesthetic, and if the dosage will need to be adjusted. Failing to give a blood test ahead of a general anesthetic can prove fatal otherwise.
2. It is part of your pet’s preventative care
By far the most common reason for a blood test to be requested is purely as a preventative measure. Animals are extremely good at hiding when they are unwell so by the time symptoms are impossible for your pet to hide, he is already suffering significantly. To get around this problem, most veterinarians offer preventative care in the form of annual wellness examinations and blood tests. The results of these can be monitored year on year to ensure that there are no sudden changes or worrying patterns. By checking your pet’s blood every year, as soon as something is noticed that seems a little out of the ordinary, further investigations can begin without waiting for symptoms to become apparent.
Any veterinarian will tell you that good preventative care can make a huge amount of difference to your pet’s health, ensuring that he gets the treatment he needs in a timely fashion and enabling him to make the best possible recovery.
3. Your pet may be showing signs that he is unwell
If you do suspect that your pet is unwell for any reason, a blood test could reveal exactly what is wrong with him. One of the hardest parts of pet parenting is realizing that our animals are sick as they naturally mask any vulnerabilities. Equally, your pet cannot tell you what is wrong so even if you do think that something isn’t quite right, figuring out exactly what that is can be tricky if not impossible. Fortunately, the blood tests that are available can look at various aspects of your pet’s health, identifying problems such as thyroid disorder, kidney/liver problems, dehydration, infection, diabetes and even some cancers.
What does bloodwork for pets entail?
If your vet requests that your pet has bloodwork done, he will probably take two samples of his blood. The first is known as a CBC or complete blood count, which looks at the number of red and white blood cells to check that they are within the recommended limits. Too many or too few of either could indicate a problem. Secondly, the chemistry of your animal’s blood will be tested. This consists of a panel of various proteins, enzymes and other chemicals and will check that the levels present are within the normal range. Again, if not, this could suggest a problem with your pet’s health.
The results of your pet’s bloodwork will be made available to you if necessary, and if further investigative work or treatment is needed, this will be discussed with you in due course. Contact our Nashville, TN veterinary clinic for further information on early detection testing and our other services to help improve your pet's health.