Wellness Blood Testing1st March 2017
At Bollington Veterinary Centre we regularly perform blood tests to check the health of our patients. These blood tests, often known as ‘Wellness blood tests’ allow us to anticipate or predict problems before an animal becomes clinically ill.
If we spot the early signs of a disease, we can try to modify the disease process and improve the animal’s quality of life.
Dogs, cats and rabbits are great at hiding disease, and we often find that by the time they look unwell, it’s more difficult to help them.
We will also monitor any changes over time to try to ensure that our treatment plans are effective.
What tests do we run?
A wellness blood profile will include a combination of different tests, looking at blood cells, blood chemicals and salts. The profile our vets will use is based on an animal’s age, health and breed.
Common profiles include:
- Red blood cell count – we need to know if the red cells are sufficient and in good health. Abnormalities may indicate anaemia, clotting disorders or diseases of the bone marrow.
- White blood cell count – there are different white blood cells, and each has a specific and important role. Their numbers and proportions are important indicators of health and disease.
- Biochemistry tests – we have a large range of different chemicals and enzymes that help us look at kidney, liver, pancreatic, intestinal and other body tissue health.
- Electrolytes – these are the salts we find in our blood and tissues. They help us understand if an animal is dehydrated or has a problem filtering urine.
Other profiles include:
- Thyroid Function Test – some dogs can develop low thyroid hormone levels, whilst cats often develop high thyroid levels. We use thyroid blood tests to spot the patients likely to develop clinical signs before they become too ill.
- Feline viral tests – there are some very unpleasant viral diseases that can infect cats, including Feline Leukaemia Virus, Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. All of these conditions are best managed early, before an animal becomes too ill and debilitated.
Does my pet need a wellness blood test?
Our vets and nurses at Bollington Veterinary Centre are always very happy to discuss this with you. We would often recommend doing health check blood tests early in an animal’s life to know what their own normal levels are. This will give us reassurance and an understanding of an individual’s body profile.
We will often perform blood tests before a surgical procedure, including routine surgery such as castrations, spays and dentals.
As animals age, their body systems can change, so we would normally start regular routine monitoring in middle age.
Ask our vets and nurses – they are the best people to give you advice. Book an appointment and speak to one of our team today.
What conditions can we identify?
Some of the common conditions we spot with our wellness blood tests include;
- Diabetes – a raised blood glucose level would indicate this.
- Kidney disease – elevated urea and creatinine levels will suggest a renal problem. We also look for alternations in potassium and sodium.
- Liver disease – many diseases will affect the liver, so we check enzymes and chemicals specific to liver function. Damage to liver cells will usually cause an increase in some very specific chemicals.
- Pancreatitis – we look for alterations in chemicals released from damaged pancreatic cells.
- Infection – acute or chronic infections will show predictable changes to the white blood cell numbers and distribution.
- Tumours – some forms of cancer will alter enzyme and calcium levels.
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