Why Do Vets Recommend Blood Tests

Hi, my name is Kacie! Some of you may have started to get to know me at the Adelaide Vet Goodwood clinic. I am a qualified and experienced veterinary nurse in small animal practises.

In this article, I will discuss, why our vets recommend running blood tests? When they recommend running blood tests and why do they offer regular blood tests and checks on all patients past a certain age and/or are on regular medications?

Have you ever had a sick pet that was vomiting and/or had diarrhoea? Were you offered a blood test after a veterinarian was concerned about dehydration and/or decreased appetite? If the answer is yes, then these are the reason why; Our pets become dehydrated quickly when unwell and there are many reasons to what could be causing them to be ill.
Since our pets are not able to speak and tell us what is going on, then it is up to our veterinarians to help them. They help rule out what could be making your pet so unwell, by firstly offering to do a blood test. Blood tests check for early stages of medical conditions, and any signs of infection or inflammation and let the veterinarians know if further workup is required.

Some of you may have even noticed that when you have bought your pet in for desexing or other procedures that require sedation and/or anaesthetic drugs, we also recommend running bloods before the procedure. This is so to make sure their liver and kidney function is okay, and there are no underlying concerns. We check for healthy function because the drugs used are metabolised through the liver and excreted through the kidneys and if they are not functioning well, this can make your pet very unwell and could possibly damage those important organs. We have even made it compulsory to do blood tests before a 7+ year patient is going under anaesthetic, as they are classed as an elderly patient, and we need to make sure their body is still functioning okay. It’s funny thinking of a 7+ year animal as an elderly patient compared to a human 7-year-old, isn't it?

Some medications cannot be given without a blood test as well, especially with our elderly patients. Like our NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) because they can be harsh on the liver function. Your elderly pet may even be asked to come in and have regular 6 monthly blood tests to keep an eye on the function.

We also run 6-month blood tests for our thyroid patients, controlled diabetics and epilepsy patients as well. This is so we can make sure the medications and the dose they are taking are helping, and check their condition is not worsening and their kidneys and liver are still healthy.

Did you know that in certain circumstances we won’t dispense antibiotics until we have run a blood test to see what antibiotics your pet may require? This is so your pet doesn’t build antibiotic resistance and so we can be sure we dispense the correct one to avoid you having to come back unnecessarily.

With all these requirements around testing, we are fortunate enough to be able to run in house blood tests and have results on the same day!

Some of the tests we run in-house are:

  • Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Profile
  • Unwell Blood Profile
  • Senior Blood Profile
  • Renal Screen Profile
  • FIV/ FELV antigen tests (Before a FIV vaccine is given)
  • Heartworm Antigen tests (Before Proheart heartworm preventative injection is given)
  • SNAPCPL test (Check for Pancreatitis)
  • Total T4 (Thyroid)
  • Phenobarbitone Blood test

If you have an unwell pet or just want a full health screen for your old best friend, then give one of our clinics a call to make an appointment.

Written by Kacie Rushton, Veterinary Nurse.

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