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An Ounce of Prevention


By Geoffrey Gardner, DVM

This quote, by Benjamin Franklin, is as true today as it was in the 1700’s.   He originally was referring to fire safety, specifically carrying hot coals from room to room  in a warming pan, carefully shut so as not to drop embers and cause a fire to smolder and burn the house down during the night.

Likewise, diseases can hide undetected in our beloved pets with no outward symptoms until more advanced changes make treatment more complex. Diseases such a kidney impairment, diabetes, Cushing’s, heart, liver, and certain types of cancers can often be detected much earlier with simple blood screening.

Blood work can be an invaluable tool for early diagnosis, monitoring, and intervention to keep dogs and cats healthy.  It is desirable to use this information at all life stages, from juvenile, to middle aged and geriatric, as well as prior to beginning many types of medications, contemplating surgery or a dental prophylaxis .

A basic blood screening for a puppy or kitten can be used to rule out certain congenital abnormalities and serve as a baseline to use as a comparison in the future. It typically gives a minimum database including a complete blood count ( red cells, white cells, and platelets ) and a chemistry panel to evaluate organ function.

For middle aged pets, or for those who have conditions being monitored from previous tests, a more comprehensive panel may be recommended by your veterinarian. These can include coagulation panels, a urinalysis, a proBNT for heart disease, or a variety of specific tests if your pet requires them.   

The medical needs for our older pets can be complex, and many are living much longer, happier lives as a result of the care that can receive.

The benefits of proper screening touches all stages of our pets lives and monitoring allows you to be aware of your dog or cat’s response to treatment. It also gives your veterinarian the ability to quickly respond to any changes.

Finally, monitoring our pet’s health through blood work allows for peace of mind in many situations and so is truly an “ ounce of prevention. “