Why Do Animals Need Blood Tests?

There are many reasons why a veterinarian may want to pull blood from your pet in a yearly exam appointment.  In dogs, there are heart worm tests, glucose checks, complete blood counts, and chemistry profiles to name a few.  In cats, there are feline viral tests, and complete blood counts and chemistry results.  These are just some of the many tests.   Blood testing is becoming as extensive in pet animal medicine as it is in human medicine.  We can check appropriate therapeutic levels of medications in blood and even have blood markers for heart disease/ injury.

A chemistry profile in a pet tells a lot about your pet’s overall health.  Our blood tests check electrolyte and mineral levels, kidney and liver enzymes, blood sugar and digestive enzymes.  We have tests to check the body’s ability to form blood clots and check the efficiency of their breathing.  Heart worm, pancreatic enzymes, tick-born illness, etc. can all be run on whole blood for results in a matter of minutes.  Viruses in sick cats such as Feline Leukemia Virus and FIV (Cat AIDS- type virus) can quickly allow us to know if your cat is affected.   Complete Blood Counts are run to check the health of your animal’s bone marrow and immune system.  Clotting profiles are helpful prior to surgery to ensure anesthesia is as safe as possible and bleeding risks are minimized during the procedure.

As a full-service veterinary hospital, we intend to treat animals we see in our facility as members of the family.  There are many options on tests to best care for your pets, and good news- this applies to livestock as well.  Some blood tests can be performed on the farm or sent off to a lab for further testing.  Livestock and horses can have testing to check blood for organ dysfunction and make sure medicine is being safely metabolized by the body.  There are also blood tests that may need to be ran prior to sale, show or travel.  A fully accredited veterinarian will need to pull the blood and submit the proper paperwork to ensure you are eligible for certain events and even travel between state lines.  Knowing this ahead of time can save a lot of headache.