Nov 02 2015

Senior Bloodwork

When you bring your pet in for its annual visit, you may hear us recommend something called “Senior Bloodwork.”  What does that include and why is it recommended for your pet?  Read on to find out answers to these questions and more.

Why should I consider Senior Bloodwork for my pet?

Since our pets do not have the ability to tell us how they are feeling, we may not pick up on subtle changes right away.  As our pets age, they are at an increased risk of developing medical problems and these changes may occur suddenly.  Annual preventative screening can catch the early signs of disease and allows us to intervene earlier in the course of a disease to eliminate or slow down the progression of disease.  At the very least, the annual bloodwork will provide us with a good baseline to which we can compare future results if an illness does develop.  We recommend that any pet over the age of 6 years consider Senior Bloodwork.

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What tests are included in the Senior Bloodwork?

A complete blood count (CBC) checks the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.  This tells us if your pet has any signs of infection, inflammation or anemia.

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A blood chemistry, including electrolytes gives us information about the function of your pet’s liver and kidneys, in addition to providing information about hydration status and glucose level.

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A urinalysis checks for signs of infection, inflammation, crystals and some degree of kidney function.

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A thyroid function test tells us if your pet’s thyroid gland is functioning normally.  Thyroid disease is very common in older dogs and cats.  Dogs typically develop a low thyroid level (causing weight gain, decreased energy level and skin changes), while cats develop a high thyroid level (causing weight loss, hyperactivity, ravenous appetite and heart complications).  Catching these conditions early allows us to intervene before the disease progresses to an irreversible point.

Additional testing may be recommended based on your pet’s examination findings or added on to clarify certain bloodwork results.  The lab that we use has a very fast turn-around time and can usually provide us with results within 2-3 business days.  You will not have to wait weeks for your pet’s bloodwork results!

What can I expect if there is something abnormal on my pet’s Senior Bloodwork?

Our hope is that everything comes back completely normal.  However, if there are some abnormalities, we will discuss the possible causes and what can be done.  A veterinarian will call and have a discussion with you over the phone about your pet’s results.  We can answer any questions you may have about the results and formulate a plan going forward.  Sometimes, that may mean waiting a few months to recheck a specific value or we may suggest starting treatment for a condition right away.  Keeping up with follow-up appointments and following all medication instructions are the best ways to ensure that we are able to adequately manage your pet’s condition.

Please schedule an appointment today to discuss Senior Bloodwork for your pet and stay on top of your pet’s health.

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