Annual lab screenings are a very important tool for your veterinarian when diagnosing and treating your pet. Not all diseases, infections, and conditions are obvious from a physical examination. Blood, urine, and fecal testing allow the doctor to look inside the animal, and see those things not apparent from the outside. Doing annual lab work when your pet is healthy is especially important, as this gives your pet’s doctor a reference point of what is normal for them. Monitoring those levels year after year gives an accurate picture of changes that happen as your pet ages.
Early detection allows for early treatment. Instinctively, animals, especially felines, hide illness and injury from us. This is a defense mechanism, remnant of their days in the wild. If they were to show any sign of weakness, they may become a target for predators. While your pet may not be telling you how bad they feel, their bodies may be fighting an infection, crystals or stones may be forming in their bladder, or liver and kidney functions could be changing.
Routine blood and urine screening are especially important for seniors and those animals that take routine medications. Some drugs, while treating or managing one symptom may have other side effects that could potentially cause harm if not monitored closely. Also, some pets may begin to heal after starting medications, or their condition could worsen as they age. Their Veterinarian will want to make sure they are still prescribing the correct dosage. Blood or urine testing may be required every six months for patients taking these medications.
In the words of Will Rogers, “Personally, I have always felt the best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter – he’s just got to know.” Routine lab work is a tool that helps your veterinarian provide the best possible care for your pet.