Most people are aware that our dogs age much faster than we do. In fact, one human year is the equivalent of at least seven years in your dog’s life. Not only does this mean that your canine companion ages much faster than you do, it also means that his body undergoes age-related changes much more quickly than you might expect. While as humans we may not experience the side-effects of old age such as sight or hearing loss until we are in our golden years, your dog may start to show significant signs of ageing by as young as eight or nine years old. This rapid ageing is one of the reasons that an increasing number of veterinary clinics are now offering early detection testing.
What is early detection testing?
Early detection testing is a type of screening that is offered by most veterinarians and involves tracking the health of your pet to determine any patterns that may suggest than an underlying disease is developing. It is particularly valuable for tracking age-related changes. Fortunately, the sooner that your veterinarian can detect a disease, the better the outcome from your dog’s treatment is likely to be. In some cases, it may even be possible to take preventative measures to stop the problem developing fully or getting any worse.
What is involved in early detection testing?
Exactly what is included in early detection testing can vary between veterinary clinics and may depend on the age of your dog. However, most early detection services include:
A full blood count. This looks at the number of red and white blood cells, as well as the number of platelets in your pet’s blood.
A blood chemistry panel. This test examines the different chemicals in your dog’s blood to determine how well his organs are functioning.
A urinalysis, and sometimes a fecal analysis.
If your dog is aged nine or older (in human years of course!), he may also be recommended to undergo a thyroid test. This is because the function of the thyroid can deteriorate with age, and older animals are more likely to suffer from thyroid disorder.
Many veterinarians will also incorporate heartworm testing into their early detection service. This internal parasite infestation is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly, yet often doesn’t present with any symptoms until the infestation reaches serious levels. Therefore, to avoid permanent damage to your dog’s health, annual heartworm testing is recommended.
Why is early detection testing prior to dog boarding important?
Early detection testing is generally recommended to form part of your dog’s annual wellness examinations. This means that it will be performed at approximately the same time very year, enabling fairly accurate tracking of results.
Early detection testing should be undertaken regardless of whether your dog is going into kennels or not. However, it is especially important ahead of boarding him. This is because a large number of dogs in a single location creates a perfect opportunity for disease and infectious illness to spread. Your furbaby might not be suffering from something contagious, but if he has a compromised immune system or other underlying health problem that is unidentified, being in close proximity to other animals could cause him to become sick.
Most boarding facilities also have certain entry requirements and require you to provide proof that your dog fulfils them. This can include specifications about vaccinations, preventative care and, potentially, early detection testing. You should ensure that you have the necessary paperwork to support your dog’s application before you arrange to book him into kennels.
Are you looking at putting your dog into kennels and want to schedule an appointment for early detection testing for him? We would be delighted to extend our services to you and your pet. Please contact us in East Nashville, Tennessee to register your canine.