Benefits of Bloodwork
Having a sick pet can be a scary thing. After all, they are part of the family. Seneca Animal Hospital wants to ease your anxiety and get your pet on the road to recovery quickly. When your pet is not feeling well, the doctor will normally discuss the need to run some blood tests. These tests will indicate potential abnormalities not detected by the physical exam alone. Blood tests are an essential part of diagnosing what is ailing your pet, just as they are in human medicine. Blood tests can tell the veterinarian a multitude of things, and reveal how a pet's internal organs and blood cells are functioning. Blood work can help diagnose whether your pet is dehydrated, has anemia, kidney or liver disease, or is suffering from certain types of cancer.
Complete Blood Count
A complete blood count, known as a CBC, is an important test that gives information about your pet's blood cells, and how these cells are circulating throughout the bloodstream. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, and are responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. The hemoglobin concentration measures the oxygen-carrying capacity of your pet's blood. A high red blood cell count can indicate dehydration, while a low count can be an indicator of anemia.
White blood cells defend the body against infections that can be bacterial, viral, or fungal. A high white blood cell count is indicative of infection or inflammation, whereas a low white blood cell count can mean a weakened immune system.
Platelets are small blood cells that help form clots to stop the body from bleeding. When platelet numbers are too high it can cause clots to form and break off spontaneously, a condition known as thrombocytosis. When the platelets are too low they can indicate a blood condition called thrombocytopenia, which can cause a pet to bleed internally or externally, as the blood doesn't have the ability to clot normally.
Serum Chemistry and Electrolytes
A serum chemistry panel, also known as a general health profile, will assess the function of the internal organs. It indicates how well the kidneys, liver, and pancreas are functioning. It will also check the protein in the blood, and measure your pet's blood sugar. Any elevations in these tests will help our doctors determine if your pet has kidney or metabolic disease, or is diabetic. Another test that is used in conjunction with the chemistry, is the evaluation of the body's electrolytes (Calcium, Phosphorous, Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride). These minerals help maintain the proper amount of water in the body, help regulate muscle and nerve function, balance the body's pH, and help move nutrients into the cells.
A urinalysis is a test of a pet's urine. It provides information on the physical and chemical properties of the urine which helps to identify any problems in the urinary tract and kidneys. It can indicate if a pet has a urinary tract infection, and it also can check your pet's organs to see if they are functioning properly. A urine sample can indicate kidney disease, or can indicate a metabolic disease such as diabetes mellitus.
Heartworm disease is caused by a blood borne parasite known as Dirofilaria Immitis. Female heartworms will release their offspring in a canine's blood, and this larval stage of heartworm is called microfilaria. A mosquito ingests the microfilaria from a positive canine. After several days in warm weather the microfilaria matures inside the mosquito to the infective stage. When the mosquito bites another animal, it will release the baby heartworms into that pet. These immature larvae will develop into adult worms in approximately 6 months. The male and female heartworms will mate and produce hundreds of larvae that may serve as the source of infection for the next canine, when a mosquito bites. These worms will then spend their lives damaging the pet's heart and the arteries of the lungs. Pets will develop a cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, and may collapse suddenly. Cats and ferrets can also develop disease from heartworm infections.
Heartworm Disease can only be transmitted through an infected mosquito's bite. The mosquito is the vector for this disease. If a positive dog bites another dog, the heartworm will not be spread. The disease is treatable with a medication called Immiticide, but it must be given slowly over several different injections so it doesn't kill all the heartworms too quickly. It also can be quite costly to treat a pet with heartworm disease. The American Heartworm Society recommends that all dogs be tested annually for heartworm. At Seneca Animal Hospital, we recommend that your pet be annually tested and stay on a heartworm preventative year round, to stop the spread of the disease. The test we use is called a 4DX Snap test.It is run in-house and our staff will have those results in 10 minutes. It will not only check your pet for Heartworm, but it will also check for three serious tick borne diseases that are found in our area. These diseases are Lyme, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis. This is to ensure that we may catch any of these diseases before your pet starts showing any signs of illness, associated with them.
Two serious viral infections of cats are Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLv) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). A Snap blood test can be run in our office to ensure any new cats added to your household are free of these viruses. Feline Leukemia is spread through saliva, nasal passages, and through a mother's milk to her kitten. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is transmitted through cat bites, and through blood contact. Both viruses can suppress the body's immune system leading to serious, and sometimes life threatening bacterial and fungal infections. Feline Leukemia virus can also suppress the bone marrow leading to anemia, and death particularly in young kittens. Seneca Animal Hospital recommends that all new cats or kittens brought in your house are tested for these two viruses.