If you’re like most pet owners, you probably don’t give much thought to the importance of routine lab work. If our doctors order regular blood tests for your cat or dog, it is because we want to ensure that your pet is healthy and has a long life ahead of them. Lab work is necessary to ensure the safety of your pet during surgical procedures and can also detect serious diseases early on so that we can help your pet live their healthiest life possible.
The Importance of Blood Counts
Blood counts can show signs of anemia, infection, or a weakened immune system. Anemia is when there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. This is often caused by parasites in your pet’s digestive tract. If there is not enough oxygen getting to the body’s tissues, this can cause the heart to work harder and faster until it fails completely. If your pet gets a severe infection, it can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition, that if left untreated could lead to organ failure and even death.
A weakened immune system means that the body does not have enough white blood cells fighting off infections so it’s important for us at Sierra Veterinary Hospital, as well as for you as a pet owner, to make sure your pets stay healthy year round!
The Importance of Blood Chemistry Panels
Blood chemistry panels measure substances such as sodium, potassium and chloride. They also check for levels of liver enzymes, glucose and urea. An elevated level of liver enzyme indicates that the liver is not working properly. Elevated glucose levels could be indicative of diabetes mellitus. Elevated urea could signify kidney disease or dehydration.
Liver enzymes are important for the breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates by your pet’s body. If these levels are significantly above normal values for an extended period of time, it may indicate that there is a problem with your pet’s liver function (such as cirrhosis). If our doctors order blood work during a checkup, they can tell you if they see any problems on the horizon.
The Importance of Blood Glucose Tests
Testing your pet’s blood glucose levels can be the first step in treating diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is a condition of elevated blood glucose levels that can affect both people and animals. If your pet has a poor appetite, is lethargic, drinks more water than normal and urinates more frequently, it’s important that you have them tested by your doctor. Testing your pet’s blood glucose levels can help you determine if he is diabetic, pre-diabetic or at risk for developing the disease and can help determine whether your pet will benefit from insulin therapy.
Our doctors will take a blood sample, which is more accurate than a urine test, from your pet’s ear vein, paw pad or tail to determine which course of action is best. Once diagnosed, diabetes can be difficult to manage because the blood glucose level varies widely due to stress and diet. With advice from our veterinarians, you can help your pet manage this condition by providing a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs and exercising them regularly to increase their activity level.
The Importance of Routine Lab Tests
Getting regular lab tests done on your pet can also catch potential heart problems and help you to manage them before they develop into more serious conditions inside your pet’s body. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for cats and dogs, so it’s important to know if your pet has any signs of it.
Early detection allows for more effective treatment in most cases, as well as a better chance at recovery from heart disease in general.
We’re always happy to see you and your pet, but routine lab work is a great way for us to help your pet live their healthiest life possible. Early detection and intervention allows us to catch and treat a disease in its primary stages, and then manage the condition thereafter with medication or simple lifestyle changes. Further, a more complete picture of your pet’s overall health allows us to offer suggestions to help your pet live a full, healthy life and stave off potential medical conditions. Sierra Veterinary Hospital is proud to have the ability to perform basic in-house testing and has a 24 hour turnaround for outside testing results, ensuring that your pet’s health and well-being is our top priority.