Some of our clients have asked, ‘Why do we need ‘Wellness Bloods’ done when my pet is well?’
Good question! The main reason to do them at the time of the arthritis consult is to check everything is A-OK internally prior to starting any pain medication, as some medications are dangerous if there is underlying liver or kidney disease (in some clinics, clients are even asked to sign a waiver if they decline blood testing when going onto one particular monthly pain medication). However, we also recommend them for any animal over the age of 7 as a baseline or a reference point in time. Last, but not the least, just as they would test you or I at the hospital, blood testing prior to surgery is recommended. This is because the effects of anaesthetic drop blood pressure and can cause harm to already diseased organs. The surgery may even be put off if the results showed serious problems.
Did you know there are a multitude of illnesses that can be detected by blood tests that may not be showing up as ‘illness’ in your pet at home and may be hidden on a physical exam? A biochemistry panel including liver enzymes, protein, blood glucose, BUN, calcium levels, electrolytes and also lipaemic, icteric, and haemolysed readings can give us clues of diseases as:
- Renal Failure
- Neoplasia (not all cancers will give us clues, but some elevate calcium levels so we always check they are normal)
- Metabolic disorders
- Hyperthyroidism (this disease may elevate a liver enzyme called ALT)
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Toxic disturbances
- Endocrine diseases and much much more…..
Also, as part of the ‘Wellness Bloods’ a complete blood count (or CBC) is run. This is a separate blood test which looks at the cells within the blood. It gives a reading of how many red blood cells there are compared to the various types of white blood cells and platelets. This all gives vital information and can be very useful in diagnosing the following problems:
- Immune mediated blood disorders
- Chronic Blood loss
- And much more…….
So, next time your elderly pet is offered a blood test, consider if or when they last had one. A lot can change in a year in the life of your pet. For senior animals we would suggest an optional annual wellness screening and because of our inhouse laboratory, the tests can be done in the clinic, while you have a coffee and a chat. We have cases often that have shown serious abnormalities, yet were brought in thinking they were essentially ‘well” for an Annual Health Check. This is possibly telling us we may not be testing enough, rather than too much (as we would expect most to be normal or less serious problems). So, please take the opportunity to get them checked annually.