Blood Screening and Your Pet

10% of pets that appear healthy to their owners and veterinarians at annual check-ups are found to have hidden disease!!

Uncovering hidden disease at the earliest stage will help your pet live a longer and healthy life!!

Why do we screen regularly?

Enjoy peace of mind – Tests can significantly reduce medical risks
Detect hidden illness – Healthy looking pets may be hiding symptoms of a disease or ailment. Testing helps detect this kind of illness so we can avoid problems with anaesthesia
Reduce risk of consequences – If the the pre-anaesthetic testing results are normal, we can proceed with confidence. If not, we can alter the anaesthetic procedure or take other precautions to safeguard your pet’s health
Protect your pet’s future health – These results become part of your pet’s medical record, providing a baseline for future reference. Each individual patient has their ‘normal’ values, and if the patient becomes ill in the future it allows a comparison of results from when they were healthy to when they are sick so we can notice changes that may not be obvious.

What do we screen for?

Complete Blood Count – provides detailed information about red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The total white blood cell count, along with individual leukocyte counts, can help identify underlying stress, inflammation, an inability to fight infection and potentially, leukemia. This is important to assess prior to surgery.
Liver Assessment – The liver is a large organ with many different functions,it processes the blood by removing bacteria and toxins as well as further breaking down complex nutrients absorbed during the digestion of food into much smaller components for use by the rest of the body.
Kidney Function – Kidneys are responsible for filtering metabolic waste products, excess sodium and water from the blood stream which is then transferred to the bladder for excretion. SDMA is an additional sensitive test that will become elevated first.
Glucose Levels – Glucose is the basic nutrient for the body. Glucose changes may be seen with a variety of metabolic diseases and various organ system abnormalities.
Pancreas Profile – The pancreas is a small organ located near the small intestines and is responsible for producing several digestive enzymes and hormones that help regulate metabolism
Protein Profile – Protein is an essential for building and repairing body tissues, hormones enzyme production, immune system and giving the body energy.
Electrolytes – Electrolytes are involved in most of the body’s daily functions including adequate nerve conduction, for heart and skeletal muscle contraction, for maintenance of appropriate hydration status, and for maintenance of correct blood pH.

How often should we be doing this?

Heights Pet Hospital recommends to start blood screening at 6 months of age, or prior to a sedation or general anaesthetic (for example desexing your pet). Regular screening is then carried out every year for an adult pet, and six monthly for a senior pet. Just like people, your pet’s health will change as they age, and because your pet ages faster, major health changes can happen faster. Senior classifications of animals are:

Cats/Small breed dogs/Medium breed dogs- 8 years.

Large breed – 6 years.

Giant Breeds – 5 years

What does this involve?

Just a 10-15 minute appointment! We have our own laboratory in clinic which allows fast turn around of results, which means you can have the results the same day!

You can stay with your pet to hold their paw or wait for them in the hospital reception.

About the author: Megan Reilly

Megan is a Veterinary Nurse Technician - the highest qualification available to Veterinary Nurses in Australia, Megan has a fun loving spirit and brings a positive energy to Heights Pet Hospital. She is a talented nurse who has a love for all patients and is continuously updating our processes and procedures, always finding a better or more effective way. She has been at the hospital since its opening in 2011 and in the veterinary industry since 2000, starting out as a kennel hand and then completing veterinary nursing cert IV in 2006. She has also undertaken additional study, gaining her qualification as a Veterinary Nurse Technician in 2015.

Megan runs our puppy school classes and has a special interest in canine behaviour. She continues to give back to the industry with her dedication to training new veterinary nurses and work experience students.

Megan has Trevor, a black domestic short hair cat with a penchant for extravagant bow ties! and Howard, a fiesty Border-Terrier.

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