The Importance of Routine Pet Lab Tests
Just as it’s important for us to regularly see a doctor throughout our lifetime for routine checkups and examinations, the same is just as essential for our beloved pets. Although it may be easy to think our furry four-legged friends are invincible (if only they actually were), their health can be severely impacted if left uncared for. That’s where pet lab testing comes in.
Since it can often be difficult to recognize the symptoms of certain diseases in our pets, we can’t stress how important it is to regularly schedule preventative exams and have lab testing be performed for your pet’s safety. With timely diagnosis and immediate treatment, you can prevent your pet’s condition from worsening if signs of potential disease are spotted early on. Here are some common lab tests performed on pets that you should familiarize yourself with.
It’s commonly believed that only dogs are capable of contracting heartworm disease. However, that is not the case, so it’s also important to have your feline friends also tested. Heartworm disease affects your pet’s heart, blood, and lungs and leads to organ damage, lung disease, and heart failure if left untreated.
Small blood samples are drawn from your pet and analyzed for signs of heartworm proteins. Depending on your local veterinarian, these tests can be done in-house or are sent to an off-site laboratory.
Blood Work Tests
The frequency of blood tests will vary depending on your pet’s age, while senior pets need to be tested annually. These tests are great at getting a general diagnostic report of your pet’s overall health. Basic blood tests are capable of analyzing the following:
- Liver function — Devastating diseases, like hepatitis and cirrhosis, can be detected with this test.
- Kidney function — Kidney failure is a common cause of death in dogs and cats, and the disease doesn’t cause external signs until the kidneys are beyond repair and treatment is no longer helpful. Detecting the disease early on can add years to your pet’s life.
- Complete blood count — This test reveals anemia, dehydration, infection, and more.
- Blood glucose — This test tells us if your pet has developed diabetes.
Fecal and Urine Tests
Fecal and urine tests give us insight into your pet’s internal digestive and endocrine systems. Urine, for example, is analyzed for its pH (degree of acidity or alkalinity), protein percentage, specific gravity (density), glucose levels, and fragmented blood cells. Depending on the quality and material make-up of the samples, these tests can be used to spot the following:
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney disease
- Tapeworms, Roundworms, and Hookworms
Now that you have a basic understanding of what goes into your pet’s lab testing, we recommend having a routine testing plan. Contact our office to schedule preventative lab tests for your furry friend.