Why does my veterinarian recommend annual blood work and/or urine testing?

Have you recently been in to the veterinarian for an annual exam or vaccine appointment and been asked about annual blood work/urine testing?

As your pet ages, and at a much faster rate than humans, there can be changes that are happening in their bodies that aren’t necessarily accompanied by any physical symptoms or signs. Routine screening creates what we call a “BASELINE” for our pets so we as veterinarians can compare values to previous years and identify potential health concerns early.

Annual screening, along with annual exams are a significant part of preventative care for our pets. Preventative screening can help catch any changes or illness in our pets early, and in the end, can help avoid significant medical expenses.

In addition, if our pets are on medications, routine bloodwork helps to ensure accurate dosing and if there are any complications associated with the medications.

What do we test for on annual screening? Below is an outline of the most common testing recommended:

Complete blood cell count (CBC): This looks at red blood cells (which carry oxygen to the tissues), white blood cells (including neutrophils, which help to fight off infection, and lymphocytes, which are also involved in immune responses), and platelets (which help the blood to clot).

 Serum Biochemistry: This test evaluates total blood protein levels (to look for signs of dehydration), electrolyte and acid-base levels in the blood, as well as liver, kidney, and pancreatic function.

Urinalysis: This test evaluates kidney function by assessing its ability to concentrate urine, as well as if the urine contains any bacteria, blood, glucose, protein, crystals or unusual cells.

Next time you are in, ask us about routine screening and if it’s indicated for your pet. 

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