My Pet Isn’t Sick… Why Are You Recommending Bloodwork?!
At your pet’s annual visit, there’s a good chance we talked to you about “wellness bloodwork.” This is a small bloodwork panel that we recommend annually to check in on how your pet’s organs are functioning. You may have wondered why we recommend bloodwork when your pet isn’t sick… read on to find out!
- Pets don’t always show symptoms when they aren’t feeling well. Many pets aren’t going to show any signs of a problem until the issue is catastrophic. Even though your dog or cat is acting normally and appears normal during a thorough physical exam, there could be problems brewing that can be detected on bloodwork. Catching these problems before they cause symptoms allows us to intervene earlier and keep your pet healthy and happy longer than we otherwise could have.
- Symptoms can appear gradually, so even if your pet is showing subtle symptoms, you may not have noticed! With chronic problems, your pet doesn’t just wake up one morning and start drinking, eating, or peeing dramatically more. It may take months for the symptoms to increase, and by that point, you may not realize what a dramatic change from “normal” your pet has made. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a pet that has gained or lost more than 10% of his or her body weight (a huge percentage!) since the year before, and the owner never noticed until we mentioned it since it was a gradual change. Even the most attentive owners can miss important changes when they appear over a prolonged period of time.
- Have you heard that 1 dog or cat year is equivalent to 7 human years? There are a few different age formulas out there, but the gist is all the same – pets age much faster than we do. It may have only been 12 months since your pet’s last check-up, but in that time, they’ve aged much more than a human would have in the same time frame. Bloodwork gives us a much more in-depth picture of how their organs are “keeping up.”
- Annual bloodwork allows us to know your individual pet’s normal values and trends. Let’s say a hypothetical bloodwork value is normal when it is between 1.0-3.0. For several years in a row, your pet’s annual value is between 1.0 and 1.5. All of a sudden, your pet’s value is 2.9. Taken alone, that’s a normal value. For your specific pet, however, that’s a pretty big increase from his or her individual “normal.” This means we should keep a close eye on the value (maybe rechecking in 6 months instead of 12, for example), to see if it was a fluke or if it indicates the beginning of a problem. Trends are also useful if your pet does become ill. Knowing if the problem is brand new or part of a chronic process helps our doctors tailor their treatment plan to get the best outcome for your pet.
In short, it all comes down to the fact that it’s easier to catch problems when they’re just starting rather than trying to play catch up when your pet is sick. We want all our patients to enjoy their best quality of life for as long as possible, and wellness bloodwork is just one more way we can ensure that. As always, we’re reachable at 269-381-1570 if you have any questions. Wondering what values we’re testing when we run bloodwork? Go here for a basic overview.