Why Does My Dog Need Annual Bloodwork?

Why Does My Dog Need Annual Bloodwork?

15304991_sLike their owners, dogs need yearly checkups that include blood work to remain healthy and active.

Blood tests are important because they identify unseen health problems. Many medical conditions aren’t obvious, and your dog, of course, can’t tell you if he feels more tired than usual (a symptom of anemia or a thyroid problem) or is getting dizzy spells (which may be due to low electrolytes). Plus, most dogs aren’t complainers.

Running blood panels helps identify treatable conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, and infections. Blood tests can also uncover other conditions that need further investigation through additional services like imaging that help veterinarians decide on a treatment plan.

Routine Blood work for Dogs

The items scanned in routine blood panels for dogs may sound very familiar to you! Blood work we order for dog wellness checkups measures many of the same things your own doctor reviews from your lab tests. They include:

  • Blood counts, which checks on the amount of red and white blood cells and platelets
  • Cholesterol count
  • Electrolytes levels
  • Glucose levels
  • Potassium
  • Proteins
  • Sodium levels

A single blood panel like the one above helps veterinarians diagnose problems in the liver and heart, as well as infections.

In addition, blood work identifies heartworm, which can be deadly if left untreated. Other parasites are diagnosed through fecal screens.

Why Do Dogs Need Blood Work Before Surgery or Dental Treatment?

Veterinarians typically perform blood work before they put a dog under anesthesia for surgery or teeth cleaning. This ensures the dog is healthy enough for anesthesia and will recover from its effects.

Anesthesia used to be particularly dangerous for older dogs. Because dogs age differently according to breed, it’s important that their blood gets tested and assessed before receiving anesthesia.

You may have heard about anesthesia-free teeth cleaning. This practice does not allow for thorough cleaning and gum/mouth inspection, which can only be performed when dogs are sedated. Both the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American College of Animal Dentistry consider anesthesia-free dentistry a dangerous practice. AAHA will not certify veterinary practices that permit it.

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