Labwork can give us information that a physical exam cannot. Both are very important in evaluating the health of your pet.
At annual or biannual preventive care exams, labwork in the form of junior and senior wellness profiles include a CBC (complete blood count), chemistries, electrolytes, and a heartworm test. The senior panels also check a T4 (baseline thyroid test) and a urinalysis. For cats, the senior wellness profile also includes a feline leukemia and feline aids test. The chemistries help us to evaluate the function of the liver, kidneys, and pancreas and check the blood glucose. Labwork is also necessary to monitor liver and kidney function when a pet is on chronic medication(s).
When a pet is sick, labwork is extremely valuable in helping us diagnose the disease or condition so we can decide on the best treatment. It also helps us monitor your pet’s response to therapy. Labwork is also needed so we can make sure a pet doesn’t have an underlying problem that could complicate their anesthesia experience.
We also have to remember that dogs and cats age faster than we do. Especially as they enter middle age and senior years, their health can change rapidly. There are numerous diseases and conditions that if caught early, can be cured or controlled so that your pet can have a good quality life to enjoy with your family. Please feel comfortable to ask questions about labwork to our doctors and staff.