Prevention through Diagnostic Lab Work in Pets
“Dr. Rannals, Fido has been losing weight the past few months. Up until this, he’s been doing well. That’s why we haven’t been to see you in 3 years.” Just as in people, so many diseases in pets can be prevented or intercepted before they become life threatening. This prevention comes in large part through diagnostic lab work performed on a regular basis. Veterinary medicine has made great strides in recent years in our ability to run lab work to gain an overview of your dog or cat’s internal organ function. But that lab work needs to be done more than every few years. In fact, since dogs and cats age faster than humans, preventive lab work needs to be done even more frequently, especially as pets get older.
Yearly heartworm testing, even in dogs on heartworm preventives, is essential. By finding heartworms in your dog early in the course of the disease through yearly testing, we can successfully treat that pet and clear the worms before permanent damage occurs in the heart and lungs. But, as is usually the case, prevention is so much cheaper than treatment. In fact, treating for heartworms costs hundreds of dollars, while using a monthly preventive only a fraction of that.
Another example of the value of diagnostic tests to prevent disease is kidney disease in dogs and cats. Through blood testing during our yearly exams, we can track current kidney function and compare it with lab values we ran on your pet in prior years. By tracking small increases in these values each year, we can detect kidney disease earlier and often intervene before we have a true crisis of kidney failure.
Advances in routine diagnostic tests for other organ systems such as liver, pancreas, thyroid, and even heart (cardiac biomarkers) enable us to offer a better quality of life for your pets. But that means more than just check ups every few years. We recommend at least yearly checkups with a “mini checkup” at six month intervals in most pets. Diagnostic blood tests then can be run that are appropriate for your pets age.
Call us at the Rannals Small Animal Hospital in Whitehouse, Tx for further information at 903-839-7235.