Routine blood tests should be included in any good preventative care routine for your canine pal. This is because they can reveal a great deal of useful information about the current health of your pet. By tracking the results across multiple tests, your veterinarian in Andalusia will also be able to monitor any emerging patterns which could indicate that a health problem may be developing. By identifying these early enough, it may be possible to take action that could prevent the disease or condition from having a detrimental impact on the health of your furbaby. This could help her avoid unnecessary pain and suffering and the need for extensive, unpleasant treatments.
So, what blood tests should your dog have?
A complete blood count
Also referred to as a CBC for short, this is the test that enables your veterinarian to understand the levels of white and red cells present in your pet’s blood. Why is this important?
Red blood cells have several functions including transporting life-supporting oxygen to our cells and removing carbon dioxide from our body by transporting it to the lungs so that we can exhale it. If there are too few blood cells, it would indicate that your pet is anemic which can cause significant health problems and eventually heart failure. Too many red blood cells can push up your dog’s blood pressure and mean that her heart has to work harder to push the increased volume around her body.
White blood cells are the cells of the immune system and are responsible for helping to protect your canine companion from illness. If your pet’s blood test shows that her white cell count it too low, she could be at increased risk of infections and viruses. However, if her white cell count is higher than normal, it could indicate that her immune system is already attempting to fight a problem such as infection, stress, inflammation, disease, trauma or allergy.
A complete blood count will also look at the number of platelets present in her blood. These are the cells that will enable her blood to clot in the event that she suffers an internal or external injury that might bleed profusely.
A blood chemistry test
A blood chemistry test measures the chemicals and enzymes that are present in your pet’s blood with a view to provide information about the status of the health and function of her internal organs, particularly the liver, kidneys and pancreas. It also shows her blood sugar level and the quantities of crucial electrolytes including sodium, potassium and calcium.
The results of a blood chemistry test can be used to determine if there are any underlying problems with your pet’s health including signs of diabetes, thyroid disorder, kidney/liver disease and other chronic illnesses. If further investigation is required, this can be started quickly so that prompt diagnosis and treatment can happen. This could halt or even reverse the effects that your dog has experienced so far, and in many cases your canine pal may go on to make a complete recovery.
Heartworms are a particularly dangerous parasite that is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito transmits heartworm larvae into your dog’s skin where they migrate to the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. Here they feast on the blood of your pet to mature and reproduce, and after 6 months will be fully grown. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches long and live as long as 7 years! Over time, the number of worms accumulate, clogging the blood vessels and leading to irreparable damage to your canine’s internal organs. In severe cases, heartworm infestations can be fatal.
Unfortunately, symptoms of a heartworm infestation rarely show until a dog is riddled with the parasites. As such, most veterinarians in Andalusia recommend that every dog aged 6 months and older has annual heart worm testing – a process that involves a blood test. There are actually two different blood panels, one which checks for the presence of adult worms while the other detects microfilaria, which are immature heartworms. Revealing a heartworm infestation early means that treatment can be started quickly and minimize the damage to your furry companion.
Do you have further questions about blood tests for dogs? Our team at Jones Veterinary Hospital would be delighted to help and discuss our early detection testing services. Please contact our vets in Andalusia today to speak with our knowledgeable team.