Why Are Early Detection Tests For Your Pet So Important? – Thanks for reading this article. We want to ensure your pet lives a healthy long life. Tuscawilla Animal Hospital which proudly serves Winter Springs, Casselberry, Oviedo, and the great Seminole County Florida area wants to share a simple way to understand the importance of early detection tests – enjoy!
As we all know, pets can’t say how they feel – it’s usually how they look or act that tells you something is wrong. As a pet owner, you actually play a key role in helping your pet combat illness and stay as healthy as possible. Having Early Detection Testing done for your pet is critical to ensuring they live a happy and healthy life. A quality battery of tests will provide information about your pet’s liver, kidneys & pancreas, blood sugar levels, white & red blood cell and platelet count and so much more.
So What Diseases Are Vets at Tuscawilla Animal Hospital Looking For?
Although some pets let us know when they aren’t feeling well, many cats and dogs hide signs of disease and other health conditions. Unfortunately, some breeds can handle pain differently than others, it doesn’t mean they are not in pain they just tend to show the signs differently.
As pets age, they also tend to be at greater risk for certain illnesses. That’s why regular veterinary visits and screening tests for any diseases early can be crucial for helping to catch medical concerns as soon as possible.
Some common diseases and conditions that may affect pets as they age include:
- Arthritis—This chronic, painful joint disease affects both dogs and cats, but when it’s diagnosed early, it can be managed more effectively, slowing the disease, minimizing pain, and maximizing pets’ mobility. Arthritis isn’t just an older pet disease, either—it can affect younger pets as well.
- Cancer—Screening tests are essential for helping to catch cancer as early as possible. We have more treatment options than ever before for enhancing the quality of life for pets with cancer.
- Diabetes—Drinking and urinating more frequently are classic symptoms of diabetes. It’s important to catch and control this disease early.
- Heart disease—Older pets are prone to developing heart problems, and high blood pressure (hypertension) is also common in these pets. A special diet and medications can help us manage heart disease and keep senior pets enjoying life.
- Hyperthyroidism/Hypothyroidism—These thyroid problems affect dogs and cats differently. Older cats tend to have hyperthyroidism, which speeds up their metabolism, making it hard for them to keep weight on, despite being hungry and eating a lot. Older dogs, on the other hand, tend to have hypothyroidism, which slows down their metabolism and makes them gain weight. Dogs with this condition also tend to be tired and have hair loss and skin problems. We have options that can help these pets, but the earlier we catch the problem, the better. Untreated, these thyroid issues can cause other serious diseases.
- Kidney disease/urinary tract disease—Drinking and urinating more can also be signs of kidney trouble, but these symptoms aren’t always obvious, and kidney disease isn’t curable. However, if the disease is diagnosed early, your Tuscawilla Animal Hospital veterinarian can recommend a special diet to help slow the disease, as well as other management options to help pets feel better.
- Liver disease—Depending on the type of liver disease, pets may only have vague symptoms or not show any obvious signs until the disease is advanced, so early detection and treatment are crucial. Besides medications, we may also prescribe a special diet to help manage liver disease in some pets.
Why Does Testing for Early Disease in Pets Matter?
Routine lab work, including blood and urine tests, can help us determine whether your pet has any diseases we need to treat. And early detection means we can start treating your pet sooner, rather than waiting until a disease has advanced and may be harder to manage.
Certain diseases show similar signs, so determining the cause of your pet’s symptoms is essential. Testing plays a big role in helping us figure out what’s wrong and how to properly treat your pet. When a disease is detected early, pets may have more options for care, and the ability to maintain a higher quality of life.
Why do we recommend annual preventative testing or sometimes called The Yearly Wellness Exam?
Early detection testing is typically performed as part of a broader wellness exam. The point of the exam is to gain insight into your pet’s overall health and wellness. Along with a general physical exam that looks at all aspects of your pet’s health, blood and urine testing is also performed. It is from these two tests that the details of your pet’s internal health can be looked at more closely.
One of the reasons for blood and urine testing is to be able to detect early warning signs of potential health or wellness challenges. Diseases – and the processes that they produce – are often able to be observed early through a complete blood count, blood chemistry test, and urinalysis panel. The earlier that diseases can be detected, the more we can help to prevent a full-blown progressive health condition.
What are some of the common tests an animal hospitals to pet owners?
- The Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A complete blood count is one of the most common tests that are administered. The test counts red and white blood cells as well as platelets (blood clotting ability). The findings of the test can help to inform your vet about any further testing that may be required. It can help to detect parasites, anemia, infection, and even leukemia, among other things. As part of a full-spectrum early detection panel, the CBC can provide key insights.
- The Urinalysis
A urinalysis provides a wealth of information about the internal condition of your pet. It can help to see signs of dehydration, kidney function, infection, internal bleeding, and many other common problems. The three parts of the urinalysis are the overall assessment, the chemical panel, and the sediment analysis. Color, turbidity, and concentration levels are closely observed and scored against known healthy ranges.
- The Blood Chemistry Test
A blood chemistry test is performed to gain insight into the levels of various chemicals and enzymes in the blood. These tests provide information about the overall health of organs – namely the liver, kidney, and pancreas – as well as their overall function. This test also helps to understand overall blood sugar and electrolytes levels. Increased blood sugar levels can indicate diabetes, and low calcium levels can suggest muscle tremors.
- Other Early Detection Tests
Depending on the age of your pet there may be other tests that are suggested. Adult pets between the ages of three and eight typically only require a CBC, minor chemistry profile, and urinalysis. A senior pet, on the other hand, can also benefit from a thyroid panel and major blood chemistry profile in addition to the others. Senior pets have more chances of developing health complications, and these additional tests are used to help prevent them before they get out of control.
Here are a few interesting facts about this topic:
- One in 10 dogs develops diabetes
- Overweight cats have a greater chance of developing diabetes
- Kidney disease occurs in 1 in every 10 dogs and 1 in every 3 cats
- The 5th leading cause of death in dogs is a liver disease
Now that you know what early detection testing is, you can be prepared for the conversation with your vet when it arises. Begin yearly wellness exams as early in your pet’s life as you can. A group of annual tests during your yearly wellness exam allows us to determine what is normal for your pet. Trending results over time allows us to diagnose problems as we notice changes in your pet. Therefore catching what could become an advanced disease is important. Because it is associated with more complications and can make treatment harder plus become more expensive.
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