Blood work is one of our most vital diagnostic tests we have available to us. With just a small amount of blood we can assess your pet’s major organs, some hormones, electrolyte balance and blood cell lines. With a few basic tests, the veterinarian can help you learn important information about your pet’s health.
Why Is Wellness Testing Important?
Wellness testing is important because pets can’t tell you how they are feeling. Sometimes there is a problem before you even notice your pet is ill. With wellness testing, problems can be detected early, and steps taken to correct or control them.
Yearly wellness testing is very important in the healthy pet. It will give us a baseline for the normal values specifically for your pet. These values will be important to compare to in the future, should your pet become ill.
Wellness testing is especially important for pets needing elective surgery. A clean bill of health before surgery means your pet is more likely to have a rapid and complete recovery.
Wellness testing can be done any time, however many people find it convenient to combine wellness testing with their routine physical examination, vaccines or heartworm testing
Complete Blood Count
- A Complete Blood Count (CBC) detects anemia, infection and blood clotting problems. This includes assessment of the red blood cells (RBC), which carry oxygen to the body; white blood cells (WBC) which fight infection; and platelets which are necessary for blood clotting. Microscopic examination of the blood also shows if there are abnormal cells in circulation.
Biochemistry tests evaluate a variety of internal organs and determine if they are working normally.
- Liver (AST, ALT, Alk. Phos., Bilirubin, GGT, Cholesterol, Proteins, Bile Acids)
The health of the liver and gall bladder is assessed with these tests. Decreased liver function, inflammation, tissue damage and bile blockage can all be detected.
- Kidney (BUN, Creatinine, Phosphorous, Potassium, Albumin)
These tests provide information about kidney function. Increases in BUN and Creatinine may indicate kidney disease. Changes in the other tests help to identify the type of problem. Kidney function tests are even more helpful when combined with a urinalysis.
- Pancreas (Glucose, TLI, spec CPLI, spec FPLI)
Abnormal pancreatic function can be detected using these tests, including pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, and pancreatic insufficiency.
- Muscle & Bone (AST, CPK, Calcium, Phosphorous)
AST and CPK are frequently elevated when there is inflammation, trauma or damage to skeletal muscle. Calcium and Phosphorous levels are indicators of bone health.
- Electrolytes (Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride)
These elements form the “electrical” system of the body and help cells communicate with each other. For example, proper electrolyte levels are necessary for muscle contraction (including the heart) and nerve impulses.
Thyroid Function Tests
T4, FT4, TSH, Auto antibodies
- The thyroid gland is like a thermostat that “sets” the metabolic rate of the entire body. Too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) is common in dogs and leads to sluggishness and weight gain. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) is frequently seen in older cats and causes hyperactivity and weight loss resulting in stress on the heart and other organs.
- Because no single test detects all types of thyroid disease, several tests may be needed to ensure a proper diagnosis.