You will notice, (or have noticed, if you’ve been in recently) that we will be discussing some new blood-work recommendations with you at your pet’s next wellness appointment. By working with our awesome diagnostic lab team we’ve been able to make some state of the art upgrades to our in-house laboratory as well as our referral lab services. Now, recommending wellness bloodwork (ie. When your pet is NOT sick) is not a new thing… but what IS new for us at CVC is that we are able to provide these best medicine recommendations at much more affordable prices!
This is definitely a win for all of us!
Let me explain:
- I’m good, but not THAT good. What I mean is, I’m pretty confident in my physical exam skills. I don’t rush through them, I try to be as thorough as your pet will tolerate each and every time. However, my eyes, ears, and hands can only pick up on so much. No matter how good I am, I will NEVER be able to know how well those kidneys are functioning, or if the thyroid is a bit sluggish, or if the blood cell count is mildly low, without running that blood-work.
- Healthy on the outside does not always mean healthy on the inside. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into the exam room and initially thought, “Oh good, this will be an easy, healthy dog (or cat!) appointment” and have been WRONG. Because when I put my stethoscope to the chest I hear a heart murmur. Or I lift up the lips and see (or smell) dental disease. The same theory pertains to blood-work: meaning unless we look for it, we won’t know it is there.
- We need those baseline values!!! Knowing your pet’s normal values is key to being able to interpret any abnormalities when they’re sick! Despite what many pet owners think and what many doctors would prefer: blood-work results are often very nonspecific. And those highlighted “abnormal” results can often be completely insignificant or even “normal” for your pet. Yet, we only can know that by having results from when your pet is normal and healthy.
- The sooner we know, the more we can help. This one is probably the most important reason for me. In today’s world of modern veterinary medicine, we have so many treatments and therapeutic options for most of the illnesses and diseases our pets battle. Therapeutic diets, nutraceuticals, and supplements, even minor alterations in lifestyle and environment can have huge benefits to your pet’s overall health and well-being. Yet, when we don’t know until later when the clinical signs are present and your pet is “sick”, our options are limited and our ability to help is also limited.
Because I’m a scientist I like to see the numbers associated with my own personal findings with my own patients. Lucky for me, there are some: Recent studies on 119,000 pets that were examined for annual wellness exams had some pretty eye-opening results:
In each age category, 3 or more clinically significant abnormal results were discovered in:
-1 in 9 Adults (dogs 2-6 yrs, cats 2-8 yrs)
-1 in 7 Seniors (dogs 7-10yrs, dogs 9-13 yrs)
-1 in 4 Geriatrics (dogs 11 yrs and older, cats 14 yrs and older)
This means that 1 out of 9 seemingly healthy adults have underlying blood-work abnormalities that are silently affecting their overall health. Yikes!!!
Overall, I want what you want- and that is that you and your pet live the l happiest and healthiest lives together for the longest time possible. With consistent teamwork and open communication, I truly believe we can make this happen for all of us.
So, don’t be surprised when we discuss this with you a bit more the next time we see you! And as always, please reach out to us if you have any questions!
Prevalence of clinicopathological changes in healthy middle-aged dogs and cats presenting to veterinary practices for routine procedures; D DellLOsa and S Jaensch* 2016 Australian Veterinary Association Australian Veterinary Journal Volume 94, No 9, September 2016