Why Veterinarians Recommend Blood Work

There are a variety of reasons veterinarians recommend blood work. Some of these include yearly blood tests, pre surgery blood tests, and prior to starting medications. We will be discussing why veterinarians recommend blood work throughout this article.

Yearly blood work typically consists of evaluating a patient’s blood chemistry and complete blood count or CBC. The chemistry evaluates for signs of organ dysfunction including but not limited to the liver, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, and pancreas. The CBC will show how many red and white blood cells there are in the body. These numbers are looking for any signs of infection, inflammation, or anemia. Additional tests may be included such as thyroid function, heartworm disease and tick borne diseases.

Heartworm testing is very important to do every year for several reasons. 1) Even if you give the dose on the correct schedule, no one is 100% sure their pet actually ingested the medication, occasionally nausea is a side effect to some medications, and your pet may vomit without you being aware. 2) Certain heartworm medications can be harmful to your pet if they have heartworms, leading to severe side effects. 3) Many companies back their product 100% if you can show a negative heartworm test with a 12 month supply of medication, meaning they will pay for the heartworm treatment.

Prior to surgery, pre-anesthetic blood work is almost always recommended, your veterinarian will discuss if required. Even a completely healthy pet may have changes that are seen on a blood chemistry that are linked to specific organs, that could change what type of pain medications, anesthesia, and antibiotics are used. A CBC will evaluate the white and red blood cells, along with platelets to ensure proper blood clotting and that surgery is safe.

Prior to starting many medications veterinarians will recommend doing certain blood tests. These medications can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressives, anti-anxiety and anti-seizure medications. Knowing if there are changes in the blood work will help your veterinarian maintain your pet’s organ health. Some medications, like anti-seizure drugs, need to be monitored regularly to make sure they are at therapeutic levels within the blood. Other health conditions such as diabetes mellitus and hyperadrenocorticism (cushing’s disease), require frequent blood tests to ensure proper levels of the medication are being given to control the disease without causing an overdose or unwanted side effects.

Lastly as our pets age, we will recommend yearly to bi-yearly routine blood tests. Many diseases begin with no outward obvious signs such as kidney disease and liver disease. We can start to see subtle changes on routine checks that would catch our attention and allow us to make some easy diet and/or medication changes earlier in the process to help keep your pet healthy longer. Hope this article informs you why veterinarians recommend blood work for your fur-babies.

By: Last Wished