A question that we often hear at White Marsh Animal Hospital is whether pets need bloodwork done, or what it even is. Bloodwork is an invaluable diagnostic and preventative tool that a veterinarian uses to assess the overall health of an animal, whether they are suffering from illnesses, detecting early signs of illnesses and conditions, or tracking the course of a disease.
What is Bloodwork
Bloodwork is a broad term that covers a number of tests that a veterinarian performs using a blood sample from your pet. We order different tests based on why we're doing bloodwork. A complete blood count, for example, gives us information about the cell types in the blood. The presence, absence, and quantity of these cells can indicate a lot of useful information. There's a range that indicates whether a value is within normal limits. If a value is above or below that range, then further diagnostic testing or medication may be required.
When Does a Vet Need to Do Bloodwork
We may request bloodwork when we're seeing a pet who is new to our practice, is above a certain age, or shows symptoms of diseases that are diagnosed via these tests. There is also the need for bloodwork to monitor the effects of certain medications.
Does Getting Bloodwork Hurt Your Pet
The veterinarian needs to take a blood sample from your pet to run the tests. We do this with a syringe and there is a slight pinch when we insert the needle. However, it's quite similar to the feeling that you would have when your doctor takes a blood sample. It's not a particularly painful sensation and it is over quickly. We also do everything possible to keep your pet calm and relaxed during the procedure so they're not stressed about their visit.
How Often Should Your Pet Get Bloodwork
Outside of diagnostic situations where your pet is displaying symptoms of a potential condition or disease, bloodwork is typically recommended on an annual basis, unless your pet is on a medication that needs periodic monitoring. By getting these important tests done when recommended, the veterinarian has an ongoing view of the typical values for your pet and they will be able to quickly notice if anything is abnormal. Senior pets should receive bloodwork more often to catch early signs of diseases. Once every six months is a good schedule to shoot for when they reach the senior stage. Contact White Marsh Animal Hospital today to make an appointment.