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Humans dread blood tests and always pray or ask for prayers that the results will show they are fine. A blood test is needed to determine the cause of a symptom one is experiencing or to check one’s overall health. Most humans have a yearly check-up
Your dog needs a blood test too.
Veterinarians recommend a blood test for your dog in the following situations, according to Drake Center for Veterinary Care:
1. On the first veterinary visit: Vets recommend that puppies have a blood test to rule out congenital diseases, for baseline information, and for pre-anesthetic testing prior to spaying or neutering.
2. During semi-annual wellness exams: The vet recommends this as part of a complete physical examination because blood work and urinalysis can help identify conditions that a plain physical examination can not.
3. If a dog does not seem okay: A blood test is done when the dog is showing signs of an illness or injury or there is a change in his or her behavior.
4. Pre-surgical tests: A blood work is used to check if the liver and kidneys are functioning well. This aids a veterinarian in selecting the safest dose of anesthesia. The test also helps determine the surgical risk level in senior dogs, a sick dog, or an injured dog.
5. Prior to starting a new medication: The blood test is important to check if the new medication will not injure the liver or kidneys or both. The state of the liver and kidneys is determined through the blood test.
6. During senior wellness exams: A blood test is recommended to be done regularly for mature, senior or geriatric dogs.
“These are extremely beneficial, as we often see senior dogs return to a more youthful state of being when blood tests identify an issue that can be easily treated,” Drake Center said.
Blood test and other important tests for your dog
The following tests are done on a dog given the situations discussed above:
• Urinalysis: Evaluating a dog's urine reveals the hydration status, infections, kidney or bladder disease, diabetes and other health conditions.
• Fecal Exam: A dog's stool sample is examined for color, consistency, and the presence of blood or mucus. The stool is then examined under a microscope for intestinal parasites, fungus, or protozoa.
• Complete Blood Count (CBC): The dog’s blood is analyzed to assess features of the blood, including red and white cell count, immunity status, and the measure of hemoglobin, which is the actual substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
• Blood Clotting Times: The dog's blood is tested for bleeding disorders.
• Blood Chemistries: This is a more comprehensive blood test wherein the state of the dog's internal organs is determined, and the dog’s health is assessed prior to giving anesthesia for surgery.
• Cytology: Samples of sebum and cellular debris on the skin and in the ears are collected to determine if there is an infection. The vet may also perform needle or core biopsy of lumps or masses on the dog's body to determine if there are cancer cells.
“We recommend discussing lab tests for dogs with your veterinarian, in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not your canine friend can benefit from dog blood work,” Drake Center stressed.
The blood test result
If a clinic has the equipment, you will get the results in 15-20 minutes. Some clinics, however, send the blood samples to a laboratory. It usually takes 24 hours to know the results.
This is why if a dog is sick, I prefer to go to a clinic with the equipment to know the result immediately. This is more expensive but 24 hours for a sick dog is too long. The minutes and hours can cause your dog’s life.
If blood is analyzed on the premises, Drake Center said, “This increases the chances that we can determine what the issue is, and then implement a successful medical intervention based on the results.”
“A blood test or lab test allows us to learn information about your dog’s health which can only be found from collecting a sample of blood and having it analyzed. This includes a CBC (complete blood count) and blood chemistries that analyze chemical components in the blood, “ Drake Center explained.
It added, “A CBC for dogs identifies and quantifies white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in a given amount of blood. This includes analyzing the shape and condition of the cells for health and functionality. This information is helpful in learning more about your dog's immune system (white blood cells) and oxygen carrying capacity (red blood cell count).”
The blood tests also identify levels of:
• Endocrine Levels
• Digestive Enzymes
Drake Center explained: “Because chemicals found in the bloodstream can also correlate with specific organs, lab work for dogs can help determine more than just blood count.”
“For example, if dog blood tests show a deficiency in albumin levels, then a veterinarian knows to examine a dog's liver because albumin is produced in the liver,” it said.
Moreover, Drake Center said the lab work can detect and help identify complex problems with body systems.
“For example, blood tests for dogs can detect abnormal hormonal-chemical responses to environmental and internal stimuli, which alerts a veterinarian to a potential issue with the patient's endocrine system,” it said.
Thus, canine blood tests are very valuable tools for a vet to detect, identify, diagnose and even treat an illness, Drake Center said.
So please have a blood test done when the vet recommends it. It can very well save your dog’s life.
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