Animal Care & Welfare: Our Aging Pets
Many people that love Rex have been commenting on his handsome face becoming whiter and whiter. Yes, Rex is riding the line between an adult and a senior.
One way I can learn what’s going on in Rex’s body as he gets older is getting his blood work done- a geriatric screen will tell me how his organs are functioning, and indicate any changes over time. Blood work is also incredibly valuable in urgent situations.
Rex’s kitty, The Texan, is a young guy of three. I recently noticed him having trouble urinating, and I rushed him up to Dr. Novak to get ... you guessed it ... blood work (and a urinalysis, too, of course). His blood showed that he did have an infection going, and was very close to blocking.
"The CBC, looking at white cell count, is an important indicator of infection and inflammation", says Dr. Novak of Village Veterinary. "Blood work provides a minimally invasive way to learn about the health of many internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys".
As a veterinary technician, I have received the same question for many years: "My pet did this: ______, what’s wrong with him/her?" You can insert all kinds of things into the blank: barfed, burped, looked at me funny . . . my response is usually the same: Have you had blood work done?
What a fantastic source of information we have in blood! If your cat needs dental surgery, pre-surgical blood work will tell your veterinarian if your kitty’s kidneys can handle the anesthesia. Treatment screens give us the ‘befores and afters’- if your dog was put on thyroid medication based on initial blood work, testing again will tell you if the thyroid has improved. Need to move your horse from one state to another? You’ll need blood to run a coggins test for EIA. Want to adopt a goat? Better make sure all goats have been tested for CAE. You should test that stray kitten with the goopy eyes for FIV/FeLV before introducing her to your two house-cats. After lots of walks, and lots of ticks, a few drops of blood will tell you if your dog has Lyme disease.
Blood work is not only a great tool to gather information when we see a concerning symptom in our pets, but also when we don’t. Problems can be discovered, treated correctly or possibly avoided with just a little bit of blood. The more information we have, the better we can meet our pets’ individual needs... like a liver-friendly arthritis supplement for Rexy and only canned food for The Texan.