Often when we take our pets to the vet for their annual wellness exam, it gets overwhelming. Your pet needs a fecal, then vaccines, oh and the heartworm test, and now they are asking about annual bloodwork-is this all necessary? When I am making recommendations for a pet at their annual exam, I recommend the same things I do for my own pets. And I do believe annual bloodwork is important. But why?
** It gives us a baseline for that pet. I know my fit shepherd’s Creatinine runs a little on the high end of normal. So if she were sick and her Creatinine was slightly elevated I am not going to worry as much as for another dog. Recently we did pre dental bloodwork on a cat. And her kidney values were really high! Surprised all of us. But thankfully the owner had bloodwork completed recently, so I knew these changes were within the past six months. Of course we still had to treat her kidney disease but now we could try and pinpoint when these issues began.
**Sometimes we get lucky and catch things early when they can be treated easier. I had another “healthy” dog that I ran baseline bloodwork on. The blood glucose was lower then we would expect for a fasted sample. Thankfully the owner trusted us and allowed us to complete more bloodwork. We were eventually able to diagnose an insulinoma in this dog, a relatively rare tumor on the pancreas. She received treatment and did really well. The early detection of this tumor likely saved her this dog’s life.
However, we understand that everyone has a budget. So ask your vet if you can space out the bloodwork from the annual exam if needed. We recommend the annual bloodwork as we want to keep your pet as healthy as possible!
Boo Donoho, DVM