Our pets can’t talk to us to tell us that they are feeling a little off – It is not until the disease symptoms are established that we can identify a problem without diagnostic testing. An animal’s instinct is to hide pain and discomfort, sometimes making it difficult to determine the cause. We may notice small behavioural changes, but our pets can’t speak to us and tell us they are feeling unwell. Preventative care diagnostic testing is a way to offer our pets a voice. The tests are sensitive and measure your pet’s internal health.
We see most of our pet patients at least once a year for their vaccinations and annual health check. During the health check, the vet will ask about your pet’s general wellbeing and give your pet a physical exam, including weighing them and checking their eyes, ears, oral health and mobility. They will listen to the heart and lungs for irregularities and discuss diet and parasite control. In addition to the health check, Anexa Vets can now offer preventative care diagnostic testing to measure the health and function of your pets’ internal organs.
What is preventative care diagnostic testing? What can I expect?
The preventative care diagnostic testing component of an appointment looks at the early detection of disease so we can keep our pets happier and healthier for longer. Blood and faecal samples are collected and tested.
Testing is sensitive and provides an in-depth assessment of your pet’s health by assessing the function of the pet’s internal organs. Your vet will then provide you with the results and a plan to best care for your pet.
If a result causing concern is found, your vet will advise you on the best course of action. This may include a change of diet, environment, further testing or medication.
The test could also come back with nothing to report, this is great news – your pet is healthy. These test results benefit your pet in the future by providing your pet’s baseline.
As your pet ages and undergoes further testing throughout its life, all testing will help build a profile of what is ‘normal’ for your pet. The team will track any changes when your pet undergoes future testing and use it as a benchmark when making evidence-based recommendations.
What is included in preventative care diagnostic testing? How can this function affect my pet’s health?
Heart and lungs – Infection or disease can make it difficult for your pet’s heart and lungs to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the body.
Liver – Your pet’s liver may have trouble managing proteins, fat, digestion, and waste. These problems could be caused by disease, a blockage or even medication.
Pancreas and intestine – Your pet’s pancreas produces insulin to help with the regulation of blood sugars, and testing this vital organ can also pick up on signs of infection that need to treated, or dietary changes that need to be made before symptoms develop.
Kidneys – Your pet’s kidneys may have trouble removing waste from the blood or making urine. The test can detect very early changes.
Thyroid – If the thyroid glands aren’t releasing the right amount of hormones, your pet’s metabolism could be affected.
Blood – A complete blood count tells us if your pet is fighting an infection or has some bleeding problems. We also test for diseases spread by ticks.
Urine – Urine tests tell us if your pet has problems like infection, kidney stones or bladder stones. They can also tell us about some cancers.
Faecal – Faecal tests tell us if your pet has parasites such as worms. This is a common cause of intestinal infections in pets and may cause problems in people too.
Which pets will benefit most from preventative care testing?
Healthy pets! Why? Even when a pet seems healthy, it could have underlying issues. Requesting preventative care diagnostic testing for your pet at your appointment can help build a better picture of your pet’s overall health, whether young, adult, senior or geriatric.
Preventative care diagnostic testing can be done at any age. However, it becomes more critical as your pet gets older; breed and your pet’s history should also be considered, as certain circumstances can make pets more susceptible to disease.
Want to know how old your pet is in human years?
Use the chart below and discuss preventative care testing benefits with your vet.