Most of us aren’t experts in our own health. That’s why we visit the doctor when we’re sick and go in for our yearly checkup. We feed ourselves, bathe ourselves, and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible. The same should go for our beloved pets. Our furry companions don’t have the same autonomy as us, and it’s up to us to give them the best life we can – healthcare included. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at a veterinarian’s office, we’re here to help you understand why blood work for your pet and annual checkups are some of the simplest and easiest things you can do to ensure your pet’s wellbeing.
What’s The Importance Of Blood W
ork And Checkups For Your Pet?
For better or for worse, our pets cannot speak. Naturally, this means that they cannot tell us about any pain and discomfort. In particular, cats are especially good at hiding illness. According to a 2016 survey with over 2,000 respondents, 21% of cat owners said that their cat had age-related health issues. The real number is probably higher. That’s why it is always better for a trained professional to examine your pet from head to tail on a regular basis.
Also remember that our pets do not have the same life span as us. Because they age at a different rate, we have to be extra diligent in regularly examining their health. Adult dogs should have a check-up and blood test annually, while older dogs should visit their vets twice a year.
Having your pet’s health documented, especially when they are healthy, will help your veterinarian understand his or her baseline health. As your pet ages, we will be able to keep track of changes within his or her body. Understanding their unique biological makeup will also allow your vet to provide you with the best nutrition or activity recommendations as they age.
What Kind Of Tests Should My Pet Have?
When veterinary professionals speak of standard, routine blood work for your dog or cat, they are generally referring to two different tests: the CBC and blood chemistry.
CBC: Complete Blood Count
This test counts and analyzes the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a given amount of blood. In addition to red blood cells, the CBC will also measure hemoglobin levels, which is the molecule responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. Low red blood cell count and low hemoglobin levels may indicate that your pet is anemic, while high red blood cell count and high hemoglobin levels may be a sign of dehydration. These levels give us information about the functioning of your pet’s bone marrow, spleen, and other organs.
The CBC also counts white blood cells, as well as the numbers of each type of white blood cell. These numbers help us to paint a picture of your pet’s immune system, which will provide us with invaluable information in times of infection or crisis. The CBC also measures platelets, cells that help your pet to form clots when bleeding. Low levels of platelets can be a serious problem, especially if surgery is needed down the line. It could also indicate life-threatening diseases or infections.
The CBC also gives us important insight on the color, size, and shape of these cells, which play a huge role in how they function. The information provided from this test allows veterinary professionals to optimally monitor your pet’s health, properly diagnose problems, and administer the best treatment, if needed.
Blood chemistry aims to take a look at the fluid that blood cells move around in. A breakdown of this fluid gives us information about its chemical components and the functionality of the organs that filter or produce these chemicals. Some of these organs include the liver, the kidneys, and the pancreas. Furthermore, this test also looks at glucose, total protein, and calcium levels in your pet. The many chemicals and proteins we look at helps us to build a health portfolio for your beloved pet.
For many of us, our pets are part of our families. They completely depend and trust in us as their owners, and it’s up to us to take on that responsibility. With the joy and company that they provide us, the least we can do is give them standard healthcare. Here at Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, we like to make sure that all pets are taken care of and loved. Find a trusted and experienced veterinary office or animal hospital near you and start off 2019 with your pet’s yearly checkup.