A lot of people think that vaccines are the most important part of annual wellness exams.
Well, they are important, of course. But vaccines aren’t everything. There is a lot more to the annual wellness exam that will help keep your pet healthy.
The most important aspect of your annual wellness visit is physically examining your pet.
Nothing compares with going through the steps of a thorough physical exam from head to tail. If anything seems out of the ordinary, it can be followed up with more advanced diagnostics. But the first step is always noticing a problem exists, and that’s where the exam comes in. Eyes, ears, teeth, skin, joints, and internal organs are all assessed first by exam and auscultation.
Bloodwork is like a window that lets us see what the organs are doing and how they are functioning. The kidneys, the liver, and the pancreas have specific enzymes associated with their function. In addition, bloodwork gives us a snapshot of what the immune system is doing – if it is responding to an active infection, how WELL it is responding, and if the red blood cells are affected in any way.
From blood-borne parasites to immune-mediated diseases to organ dysfunction, bloodwork is a great screening tool to undercover problems before they begin to affect your pet’s health and comfort.
Did you know that kidney disease is not apparent in bloodwork until at least 75% of kidney function is lost? A urinalysis can show a change in specific gravity much earlier than other bloodwork would reveal any potential renal issues.
In addition, a routine urinalysis can show things like glucose, which would potentially indicate diabetes, or crystals, which could be a sign of urinary stones. A routine UA could also reveal a bladder infection, casts, blood in the urine, or a variety of other conditions that may be indications of an early disease process. It’s fairly simple to get a sample, so why not check it?