In human medicine, disease prevention is an integral part of good health care. At San Diego Pet Hospital, we believe in this same high standard of care for our animal patients.Early detection and diagnosis of many diseases can result in higher cure rates. Clinically silent diseases may be more successfully treated if diagnosed early. This is especially important in veterinary medicine because animals age 7 to 10 times faster than people do, and they cannot tell us what they feel or when they are sick or in pain. It is in their nature to hide pain and illness because in the wild those who are weak become prey. For all of these reasons, the disease tends to be diagnosed later in animals, making it more difficult and expensive to treat successfully.
Laboratory testing provides us with a wealth of information about your pet’s health. Establishing baseline values while your pet is young and healthy is also valuable. Depending on your pet’s age, these are some of the tests that your veterinarian may recommend:
- CBC (complete blood count) – measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen. White blood cells fight infection and have other immune system functions. Platelets help blood to clot properly.
- Chemistry Panel – this comprehensive blood test evaluates organ function, electrolytes, glucose, cholesterol, and important proteins and enzymes.
- Fecal screening – dogs and cats are exposed to parasites regularly when they eat grass, chew on sticks and toys that have been in the soil, and drink from natural water sources. Many of the intestinal parasites they carry are contagious to people, so we recommend routine annual fecal screening for all dogs and cats.
- Urinalysis – urine tests provide diagnostic information about a number of diseases and are used to screen for infections and other urinary tract conditions.
- Thyroid panel – this blood test measures T4 or thyroid hormone levels and is used to screen for both hypothyroidism (in dogs) and hyperthyroidism (in cats).
Remember that early detection is the key to a longer life. Running wellness blood work helps to identify health conditions and diseases early, so that your pets may benefit from early intervention and treatment, and ultimately live longer and healthier lives.