We’ve all been to our doctor and heard “I’d like to do some bloodwork.” We go to the lab, have our blood collected, and wait for the results from our doctors. Usually, this is just part of our routine checkup. We don’t give it a second thought (unless you don’t like needles). The same is true for our cats and dogs. Just like us, cats and dogs can have changes that can occur as they get older. Doing routine bloodwork helps us to monitor for any small changes that, if left unmanaged, can lead to bigger problems down the road.
Won’t I know if something is wrong with my pet? Do I really need bloodwork when he or she seems perfectly healthy?
Oftentimes, small changes can be happening that you won’t be able to notice. If we can catch these changes when they are small, we can make recommendations on how to correct them and prevent them from becoming a bigger problem.
When will the vet recommend bloodwork?
The 1st time your pet will have a comprehensive blood panel performed is when they are a puppy or kitten about to be spayed or neutered. This allows us to see if there are any congenital problems that would make surgery riskier, and also gives us a good baseline to monitor as they grow.
When your pet is a “young adult” (4-7 years of age) we will often recommend a slightly larger, more complete panel to monitor for changes from their puppy or kitten testing. This may be recommended due to an upcoming dental cleaning, recent illness, or just a monitoring profile to make sure they are remaining healthy.
As your pet hits their “golden years” (usually over 10 for most animals, younger for giant breed dogs), your vet will recommend a complete blood panel every 6 to 12 months. This is due to the fact that things can change more rapidly as your pet ages and we want to make sure we keep a close eye on your pet.
Will the test hurt my pet?
Just like us, a blood test is no more than a quick needle stick. Your pet will be comforted by one of our technicians while the doctor is collecting the sample, and will often receive a treat after (don’t you wish they gave YOU something after having your blood collected?). Unlike with us, your pet’s blood sample can be collected right here in the hospital, and results are often received 24-48 hours after submission. No more waiting anxiously to hear what the results are.
If you have any other questions about preventative blood panels, please leave us a comment or ask your vet at your pet’s next appointment.