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Preventive care is very important for your pet’s ongoing health. In the long run, it will help minimize the lifetime cost of caring for your pet. Following your veterinarian’s recommendations for preventive care gives you the best shot at keeping your pet healthy and happy for a long time. Below you will find a list of recommendations to prevent and detect diseases. It is very important that you talk with your veterinarian about which tests are important for your pet. Of course, since your pet is unique, your veterinarian may recommend a slightly different approach, so make sure you listen to your veterinarian’s advice.
Regular wellness exams can help your veterinarian discover health problems early so that these can be treated in the best way for your pet. During a wellness exam, your veterinarian will want to gather information about the life and habits of your pet, as well as do a thorough physical examination, looking at eyes, ears, mouth, skin, heart, lungs, bones and digestive system to only name a few! Puppies and kittens will be examined several times during their first year of life. Healthy adult pets should be examined at least once yearly. Older pets and adult pets suffering from a chronic disease need to be examined more often. Ask your veterinarian how often your pet should be examined.
Early detection of medical problems can ensure prompt treatment and potentially prevent consequences from disease progression.
These are regular tests that depending on your geographical location your veterinarian may recommend for your pet:
• Routine heartworm and tick-borne disease testing
• Regular fecal testing
• In addition, cats should have a viral status check for FIV/FeLV testing
Other tests that may be recommended:
• Blood and urine tests that may detect diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes and liver problems to only name a few
Tests may be recommended with a regular check-up, prior to a procedure requiring general anesthesia, or because you are noting changes in your pet’s habits or health status.
Some veterinary clinics offer testing on the spot so that you can have the results before you leave and discuss any issues with your veterinarian right away. Along with general blood chemistry testing, other point-of-care tests include heartworm, Lyme disease, giardia, parvo and anaplasma.
The well-being of your pet is important when they’re undergoing anesthesia for any surgery or other procedure. Although the medications used during anesthesia are safe, it’s important to understand that all anesthetic procedures carry some degree of risk – even for healthy pets.
To reduce the risks of anesthesia, your veterinary team will evaluate your pet’s health before the procedure happens. This includes performing a complete physical examination and laboratory testing to create a total picture of your pet’s current health status. During the procedure, your veterinarian will use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and laboratory test results to devise the ideal anesthetic protocol for your pet.
Common pre-anesthetic tests
Blood chemistry tests. This test provides useful information on the health and function of your pet's organ systems and fluid balance.
Complete blood count (CBC). This test provides information on red and white blood cell counts. A CBC can detect conditions like leukemia and anemia and assess stress levels, inflammation, infection, as well as blood clotting capabilities.
Coagulation tests. A blood test that evaluates the function of important clotting factors that are involved in your pet’s ability to stop bleeding. Genetics, medications, and some toxins can affect the function of these clotting factors.
Urinalysis (urine test). Urine testing may be used to evaluate urinary tract and systemic diseases. A urinalysis helps to assess how well the kidneys can concentrate urine, if there is a protein loss, and if there are any signs of infections or abnormalities in the urine.
• Testing helps evaluate the safety of medications to be administered. Your pet will be given one or more medications to prepare for sedation and/or general anesthesia. Diagnostic tests help determine which medications are safe and appropriate for your pet, and blood tests evaluate your pet’s ability to metabolize these medications.
• Testing helps identify hidden disease. Abnormalities that are detected before the procedure can help reduce the likelihood of anesthetic complications. Early identification of a problem can help prevent more obvious signs of illness and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
• Testing establishes healthy baseline values. Many pets show subtle changes in their blood values over time. These changes cannot be identified without establishing normal values for your individual pet. Performing diagnostic testing when your pet is healthy and prior to anesthesia establishes values to monitor for disease as your pet ages.
• Testing provides peace of mind to you, the pet owner. You and your veterinary team are doing everything possible to ensure a positive outcome for your pet’s procedure. Pre-anesthetic testing is a fast, easy, and affordable way to verify your pet’s health and give you peace of mind before the procedure.