What is All This Wellness Hoopla Anyways?

By May 1, 2012Uncategorized
Picture of Trix the dog

Wellness tests are blood tests performed to ensure the health of your pet. These blood tests allow us to anticipate any problems before your pet becomes clinically sick, in an attempt to modify the disease process and improve your pet’s quality of life.

Pets are great at hiding disease, and often by the time they look sick- it is more difficult to help them. The most important aspect of blood work is to monitor changes over time, to ensure that our treatment and management decisions are effective.

 What Does Wellness Testing Include?

Your pet’s wellness profile will include a combination of different tests. The profile chosen for your pet is based on your pet’s age, health and breed.  Your pet’s blood profile may included:

 Blood Chemistries

These tests measure certain chemicals in the blood.  These chemicals are normally present, however, increases or decreases in their levels may indicate disease.  Organs such as the liver produce a portion of these chemicals, known as enzymes.  Elevations of these enzymes may indicate liver cell damage due to liver disease.  Other chemistry values can indicate the health of the kidneys, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract and muscles.  Diseases such as Cushings syndrome (an imbalance of cortisol hormone) and diabetes may also be detected.  The number of chemicals tested increases as your pet ages. 

 Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A CBC takes a look at the white blood cells and the red blood cells of the body.

This gives your veterinarian information about your pet’s hydration, blood clotting and their immune system.  They are also looking for any sign of infection, inflammation and anemia. 

 Electrolytes

Electrolytes are measurements of Sodium, Potassium and Chloride.  The balance between these is critical for normal function.   Imbalanced electrolytes may provide information in the diagnosis of specific diseases. 

 Thyroid Tests

The thyroid gland produces hormones that provide function to your pets’ growth, development and metabolism.  Low thyroid hormone levels are a common problem in dogs.  Dogs’ activity levels and metabolism decrease resulting in weight gain.  The opposite is true in cats.  High levels of the thyroid hormone will cause weight loss and hyperactivity.  Testing can detect early changes in the hormone levels and proper medication and monitoring can help maintain these levels.

 Urine Screen

Analysis of your pet’s urine can provide useful information about kidney and metabolic function.   As your pet ages, this information becomes valuable to the interpretation of blood results.  Consequently, a urine screen is ideal for pets that are over 5 years of age.

 Blood Parasite Screen

Mosquitoes and ticks are carriers of specific diseases.  Our in clinic blood parasite screen is comprehensive.  This test checks your pet for a heartworm infection transmitted by mosquitoes, as well Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis transmitted by ticks.

 Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) & Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

FIV and FeLV are major causes of illness and death in cats. Even healthy cats may harbor infection and spread it to others. Your cat should be tested:  1) if your cat is ill, 2) newly adopted, 3) has been exposed to an infected cat, 4) is an outdoor cat, or 5) before receiving a FeLV vaccine.

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