Our pets age much faster than we do. Because of this, if they are developing any health issues, they can progress rather quickly. One of the best ways to make sure that your pet is in the best shape they can be over the years is by establishing regular yearly visits to the vet for a wellness exam and early detection testing. What is early detection testing and how can it help your pet? Let’s take a closer look.
The Yearly Wellness Exam
Early detection testing is typically performed as part of a broader wellness exam. The point of the exam is to gain insight into your pet’s overall health and wellness. Along with a general physical exam that looks at all aspects of your pet’s health, blood and urine testing is also performed. It is from these two tests that the details of your pet’s internal health can be looked at more closely.
One of the reasons for blood and urine testing is to be able to detect early warning signs of potential health or wellness challenges. Diseases – and the processes that they produce – are often able to be observed early through a complete blood count, blood chemistry test, and urinalysis panel. The earlier that diseases can be detected, the more we can help to prevent a full-blown progressive health condition.
The Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A complete blood count is one of the most common tests that are administered. The test counts red and white blood cells as well as platelets (blood clotting ability). The findings of the test can help to inform your vet about any further testing that may be required. It can help to detect parasites, anemia, infection, and even leukemia, among other things. As part of a full-spectrum early detection panel, the CBC can provide key insights.
A urinalysis provides a wealth of information about the internal condition of your pet. It can help to see signs of dehydration, kidney function, infection, internal bleeding, and many other common problems. The three parts of the urinalysis are the overall assessment, the chemical panel, and the sediment analysis. Color, turbidity, and concentration levels are closely observed and scored against known healthy ranges.
The Blood Chemistry Test
A blood chemistry test is performed to gain insight into the levels of various chemicals and enzymes in the blood. These tests provide information about the overall health of organs – namely the liver, kidney, and pancreas – as well as their overall function. This test also helps to understand overall blood sugar and electrolytes levels. Increased blood sugar levels can indicate diabetes, and low calcium levels can suggest muscle tremors.
Other Early Detection Tests
Depending on the age of your pet there may be other tests that are suggested. Adult pets between the ages of three and eight typically only require a CBC, minor chemistry profile, and urinalysis. A senior pet, on the other hand, can also benefit from a thyroid panel and major blood chemistry profile in addition to the others. Senior pets have more chances of developing health complications, and these additional tests are used to help prevent them before they get out of control.
Every Little Bit Helps
The most important point to be considered is that any action you proactively take to assist your pet is a plus. The sooner you establish a relationship with your vet, the sooner you can gain key insights into the health of your cherished pet. We work closely with both you and your pet to make sure you have the most comprehensive preventive care plan available. Just a few small changes can go a long way in ensuring your pet is healthy for years to come.
Now that you know what early detection testing is, you can be prepared for the conversation with your vet when it arises. Begin yearly wellness exams as early in your pet’s life as you can. This is the most effective way to ensure your pet is in great health for many years to come. Reach out to us today, and we can schedule your first early detection test. We at Highland Veterinary Clinic are always here to help. Call us or visit the clinic today.