How Important is Bloodwork?

Blood Testing Provides Information that Saves and Extends Pet Lives  

More often than not, veterinary teams get asked the questions, “Does my pet really need bloodwork? Is it really necessary? He/She seems perfectly healthy.” But, as we are all aware, our beloved pets are not capable of telling us they don’t feel well or that something seems wrong. Most pets (especially cats) are even experts at hiding signs of illness and pain. As pet owners, we play a vital role in keeping our pets as happy and healthy as possible.

So why does your pet need blood tests (even when it may seem redundant)? …

Preventive Care Screening

This is one of the most important reasons to run bloodwork on your pet, and unfortunately for the medical care team and your pet, it’s the hardest to convince pet owners to do. Underlying illness does not always have visible signs and regular blood testing allows us to establish a baseline of health and identify irregularities before they become more severe. Kidney, thyroid, heart, diabetes, and adrenal disease, if caught early enough by regular screening, can all be managed long-term with medication, allowing the veterinary team to extend your pet’s life and ensure a higher quality of life. Early detection of illnesses/diseases can also aid in helping you avoid expenses associated with emergency visits and hospital stays.

Sick and Emergency Situations

When your pet has an emergency situation or becomes ill, bloodwork is crucial to your veterinary team to see the overall health of our pet and allows them to make any emergency decisions in regards to treatment.

Pre-Anesthetic Testing

Anytime your pet is going to be put under anesthesia (for surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging, or any other procedure requiring anesthesia) pre-anesthetic bloodwork should be performed. Bloodwork shows the veterinarian that your pet is healthy enough to safely handle/metabolize the anesthesia and can even give indications as to which anesthetic would be best suited for your pet. Underlying kidney or liver disease, anemia, infection, etc could have a major impact on how your pet functions under the anesthesia and can even be life threatening – bloodwork is the only way to safely evaluate your pet for anesthesia. For the safety of your pet, abnormalities may result in your veterinarian cancelling or delaying anesthesia to correct the underlying issues.  Sometimes, adjusting the anesthetic doses or use of a different anesthetic agent is sufficient.

Monitoring Bloodwork with Medication Use

Some medications are metabolized through specific organs and require regular monitoring to ensure the organs continue to function properly.   For example, an older dog with signs of arthritis may be prescribed a Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) to help with pain and inflammation.  These drugs are metabolized through the liver and can also affect the kidneys so it is very important to check these blood values on a regular basis to make sure no damage occurs and that the organs remain capable of metabolizing the drug.  With some other medications, bloodwork is a way for us to ensure that the correct dosage is being prescribed. For example – a dog with hypothyroidism that is on medications will need to have regular bloodwork done to ensure that the drug is maintaining the thyroid hormone at the desired level – allowing the veterinarian to make changes as needed.

If you have any questions regarding bloodwork please contact Columbus VetCare at (614) 312-6683 or



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