Dr. Judy discusses blood testing for your pet
Blood tests can give us a lot of information about your pets general health. Abnormal levels of certain tests can indicate disease where there are no symptoms yet.
If Alberta Health Care was paying for the service, we would run blookwork “just to make sure” there were no suprises before any anesthesia or surgical procedure.
But since the costs of these tests are covered by you, we try to weigh the costs and benefits.
- I think we can all see the value in bloodwork when a pet has symptoms and is not “his or her usual self”.
- Most of us can also see the value in bloodwork in animals who are AGED. We all understand that things “sneak up on you” when you age. I mean who knew their cholesterol was high before they checked it? Plus the procedures in this age group are often longer and most of us know anesthesia presents additional risks for us as we get older too.
- Where it gets a little dicy, is the questions of young animals going for routine procedures. Do they need bloodwork first, or is it just money making ploy?
A young animal that looks and acts normal generally does not have any problems that would delay or affect anesthesia or surgery. There are some uncommon instances where abnormalities are detected and surgery is delayed. Statistically, these are the safest surgical and anesthetic risk patients. Adding to that, the anesthesia times are considered relatively short.
In this group of pets, we don’t require you to do bloodwork because the risk is considered low and the cost becomes prohibitive for some clients. That doesn’t mean there is no benefit to this information. It is akin to insurance… you pay ahead in an effort to avoid surprises.
If I had to pick the best tests: while limiting the costs for this category, I would choose a PCV/TP, and a limited chemistry panel (ALP/ALT/BUN/CREAT/Glucose/TP). In very thin pets, very obese pets, poor doers, very tiny patients and sensitive breeds, I would advise this database.
Most important for the level of risk in this category would be Intravenous fluids intra-operatively. This helps control blood pressure, improves excretion of anesthesia, and improves the effectiveness of pain medications.
Here is some additional information on chemistry tests and what they tell us.
Here is a chart to help you decide if your dog is considered OLD?