Ensuring our animals live a healthy, active life should be our main priority as a loving and compassionate pet owner. However, if you are a relatively new or inexperienced pet parent, you may still be discovering exactly what you can do to best support the wellness of your newest furry family member. Registering him with a good veterinarian is a very important part of your pet’s care as vets are educated and trained specifically to understand the medical problems that can affect domestic animals and how to treat them.
Most veterinarians offer a service known as ‘early detection testing’, although you may also hear of it referred to as a wellness package or preventative care. Essentially, they all mean exactly the same thing – a series of tests performed on your pet on a regular basis that are used to monitor her health. In most cases these tests are annual however, if your pet is of an older age or suffering with poor health, your vet may recommend them slightly more frequently.
Why is early detection so important?
Most owners will only take their pet to the veterinarian when they think they are unwell. However, this is because they don’t realize that animals are exceptionally good at masking feeling unwell, and often symptoms do not become apparent until whatever is causing them has significantly progressed. This can make your pet’s treatment and recovery all that more difficult and, in some situations, there may already permanent damage to her body.
Early detection testing gives your veterinarian the opportunity to regularly monitor the health of your pet, tracking the results from year to year so that any concerning patterns that may be developing can be quickly identified. This enables prompt further investigations into the underlying cause, a quick diagnosis and a rapid start to treatment, which could dramatically improve the outcome for your pet. By detecting problems early, you can also help save your pet from unpleasant symptoms, pain or discomfort and the need to go through extensive and sometimes invasive treatments.
What is involved in early detection?
Early detection testing usually involves several key elements. These are blood tests, urinalysis and stool samples. Your pet may also need specific blood tests to check for parasite problems.
Early detection blood work
Early detection blood work normally requires two samples to be taken. The first is used to check your pet’s complete blood count, or CBC. In this test the number of red and white cells in your pet’s blood are checked. Too few red cells could signify anemia while too many white blood cells mean that her immune system is in overdrive, probably in response to an infection, disease or virus.
The second test looks at the balance of chemicals in her blood. The results of this test can tell your veterinarian a lot about your pet’s health including organ function, whether she is at risk of developing diabetes and if her thyroid is working properly.
What happens if the blood tests come back as abnormal?
One of the biggest fears of pet owners is that there is something wrong with their beloved baby. If your pet’s bloodwork comes back with abnormalities, your veterinarian in Miramar Beach will speak to you about this right away. It may be that there is nothing definitely ‘wrong’ at this point, but closer monitoring of her health is recommended. If there is a result that is concerning, your vet will speak to you about what further testing or investigations are required to determine the cause of the problem, or if treatment is required.
Rest assured that by ensuring that your pet has her regular blood work testing, you are taking an important step towards keeping her healthy and able to enjoy a long and fulfilling life. Make sure to schedule your early detection testing appointment by calling our veterinary clinic in Miramar Beach, Florida.