"Is blood-work really that necessary??"
"Why would I spend over $100 on blood-work for an animal?" That is the million dollar question.
Pet owners need to be educated to understand the value of what they’re buying. Adding in comprehensive blood work with the annual physical and fecal test (with or without vaccines) adds REAL value to a pet’s healthcare regimen. It's perceived value is negligible until the owner is informed of how value this information really is. So basically pet owners will not spend the extra money to buy blood-work if they have no clue what it is all about.
Your pet's lifespan is significantly shorter than ours. So why wouldn't you try to give them the best chance possible to live a long healthy life? That is where blood work comes into play.
**Regular blood work screenings are not mandatory but are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED, which helps identify underlying medical conditions not found on history or physical examination. Thus improving outcome of treatment and possibly minimizing expense.
**Establish a baseline on your healthy pet.
**Minimize risk of Anesthesia by determining the safest medications to use for your pet.
**Abnormal results may require further work up and could delay surgical procedures.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
White Blood Cells: Evaluates the Immune System status and identifies infection or inflammation.
Red Blood Cells: Evaluates the body’s ability to carry oxygen to the tissues. Anemia results when red blood cells are not present in sufficient numbers.
Platelets: Part of the blood clotting system, adequate numbers must be present to prevent excessive bleeding.
A CBC may help identify, confirm or support common diseases or disorders such as:
autoimmune diseases (like autoimmune hemolytic anemia)
blood cancers (certain lymphomas, for example)
kidney disease (as with chronic renal failure)
tick-borne diseases (like Ehrlichia or Lyme)
viral infections (like Parvo or Panleukopenia)
bone marrow diseases
parasitic diseases (like hemobartonella in cats)
poisoning (Tylenol or onion toxicity, for example
Chemistry and Electrolyte Panel
Chemistry test provide vital information about the internal organ function (ex. Liver, kidneys and pancreas) that cannot be assessed from a physical examination
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT): Increased enzymes maybe a sign of liver damage or disease.
Albumin (Alb): Low levels can indicate liver, kidney or intestinal disease.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP): Elevations can indicate liver inflammation or decreased bile flow caused by liver disease to hormonal disorders.
Amylase: Amylase is an enzyme produced to help digest food. Elevated levels can indicate disease of the pancreas, intestines or kidney.
Calcium: Calcium is important to monitor for early signs of certain cancers. Imbalances of calcium and phosphorus levels are indicative of certain metabolic diseases.
Electrolytes (Na+/K+): Potassium levels are important for normal muscle function and heart rate. Sodium levels are important for body fluid balance. Both are critical to your pet’s health.
Bile Acids (BA): Bile acids are one of the best measures of liver function, and vital for identifying and monitoring liver disease.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): BUN is made by the liver and removed from the body by the kidneys. It helps evaluated for diseases of both organs.
Cholesterol (Chol): Elevated levels may be an indication of a variety of disorders including hypothyroidism in dogs, liver and kidney disease.
Creatinine (Cre): An important value to monitor kidney function.
Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT): Measurement and monitoring is important for differentiating types of liver disease.
Globulin (Glob): A body protein that indicates problems such as infection or inflammation.
Glucose: Elevated levels can indicate problems such as diabetes. Low levels can be associated with liver disease and other issues.
Phosphorus (Phos): Important to monitor for kidney disease as well as its balances with calcium to monitor many conditions.
Thyroxin (T4): An excellent screening test for function of the thyroid gland in dogs and cats.
Total Bilirubin (TBIL): An important value to evaluate liver function.
Total Protein: We utilize this value to determine many conditions such as anemia and diseases of the liver, kidney and gastrointestinal tract.
I hope this breakdown of the blood-work values helps make your decision easier! Let's make it our mission to help our pets live the best life possible. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"