Blood tests for your cat or dog can help your vet diagnose and treat a variety of health conditions. Our Carlsbad vets explain why getting your pet's bloodwork is important, and when it's time to bring your companion to the vet.
Why Does My Pet Need Bloodwork?
Our pets can be very good at hiding their pain and discomfort. Internal issues may cause your pet to show subtle signs, but most would go undetected by the untrained eye. Annual wellness exams including bloodwork can help assess your pet's internal health and reveal any diseases at an early stage.
Blood screenings can also allow your vet to monitor the status and progress of some illnesses. Routine blood work is a key part of an effective pet care prevention program.
The earlier a disease or other issue is detected, the quicker a treatment plan can be developed and executed to get your pet back on their feet.
What Do Blood Tests Tell a Vet?
Routine blood work typically includes a complete blood count (CBC) and an analysis of the chemical components in your pet’s blood. A CBC will allow your vet to identify the number of white blood cells (responsible for your pet's immune system) and red blood cells (responsible for the distribution of oxygen throughout your pet's body).
At Carlsbad Animal Hospital, our in-house diagnostic lab allows us to get your pet's results back with very little wait time.
A blood chemistry test will analyze the levels of important substances in your pet's system that can dictate their health such as:
- Kidney & Liver Enzymes
- Digestive Enzymes
- Endocrine Hormones
Chemicals and other substances found in the bloodstream can correlate with specific organs, so blood work for dogs and cats can help determine how healthy their organs are. For example, if your dog’s blood test shows a deficiency in albumin levels, then the veterinarian should examine the liver because albumin is produced in the liver. This could also be an indication of intestinal or kidney disease since these conditions can cause loss of albumin from the body.
When Does My Pet Need Blood Work?
Firstly, having your pet's bloodwork done will be necessary any time your vet requires it to assist with a diagnosis. Listen to your vet as they have your companion's best interest at heart.
Whenever your pet is acting more unusual than their regular self, blood work may be warranted after a veterinary exam. Abnormal behavior that may push your vet towards a blood test may include:
- Refusal to eat or drink for 24 hours
- More thirsty than usual or urinating more frequently
- Running a fever
- Pink, blue, or pale complexion
- Odd behavior such as aggression
- Uncharacteristic diarrhea or accidents inside
- Significant weight or fur loss
Prevention is the best treatment. Blood work must be part of your pet’s routine preventive care. The recommendation is to have your pet’s blood work done at least once a year (even if they appear healthy) to ensure your pet’s wellbeing.
Older cats and dogs may require more frequent tests, but a vet will judge that based on your pet's unique scenario.
How Long Does a Blood Test Take?
These tests only take a few minutes to complete so your pet won't get anxious. Our in-house lab will allow us to get you and your pet their results back in a timely fashion.