Why Bloodwork Matters

When was the last time you had a blood test done? What about your pet? This regular process may seem tedious: nobody likes needles, no matter what species you are. But we do it for a reason: testing can uncover hidden health problems in your pet. It can mean early detection, reduced risk and peace of mind. The process is quick, simple, and highly effective for cats, dogs, and humans. Let’s dive deeper into what the bloodwork process is and why it matters for your furry friend. 

The Process

After taking them back to a treatment area, we will cudle your pet to keep them steady and make sure they are as calm as possible. To find the jugular vein, a large vein in the neck, and ensure a sterile environment, we add a bit of alcohol solution to their fur. This is usually the “worst” part for most pets because it feels cold, but does not pose any danger to them. We may draw blood from your pet’s hind leg if the jugular vein is not apparent. Our aim is to reduce discomfort and stress as much as we can. After drawing a small amount of blood, an assistant will apply light pressure on the site. This entire process takes about 10 seconds for a calm pet. Pets who are fearful or agitated may take a bit longer, but our team will prioritize their general wellbeing and work with them gently, possibly offering delicious treats when they are accepted, to obtain the necessary sample. If you have more questions about how the blood draw process works, our medical staff will be happy to provide answers. 

We will bring your furry friend back to you, then spin the blood vial in a centrifuge to separate blood cells from plasma and platelets so labs can easily obtain test results from the pure blood. At the end of every day, we’ll send out all lab samples to a nearby laboratory to complete testing. Most standard bloodwork bundles are done by the next business day, while more specialized testing takes up to one business week for us to get results. We will add this information to your pet’s health record and contact you for next steps if any are needed. Your veterinary team can go over any and all details with you to ensure that you are getting the best care for your pet. 

What Are We Testing For?

We highly recommend heartworm testing for dogs on an annual basis. Colorado isn’t the highest area for this parasitic disease, but it is extremely dangerous and easily spreads during warmer months, whenever mosquitos are out. Keep in mind that Heartworm disease is endemic as nearby as Arizona. The test is done in our clinic, and it only takes 10 minutes for results to come back. If the result is positive, we need to know sooner rather than later for the best possible prognosis. If your pet is traveling to areas with large bodies of water or is often outside during mosquito season, we will recommend a heartworm preventative to keep your furry friend clear of the harmful worms. Click the link to learn more about heartworm disease in dogs and cats in our blog. 

Standard bloodwork tests look at a variety of factors that indicate overall health. This includes glucose levels, sodium, potassium, calcium, protein, cholesterol, how acidic the blood is, and much more. Your pet’s levels will be compared to the healthy ranges for each value to determine if anything looks “off”. If that is the case, we can move forward toward more specific diagnoses and toward identifying the problem before it progresses too far. 

Other things that are often done along with bloodwork may include urinalysis, a closer look at the urine, and fecal testing. Most often, we obtain these samples when your pet relieves themselves at our clinic, or we may ask you to get the sample ahead of time. Like bloodwork, we send these samples out to a laboratory to check the physical and chemical properties that are linked to disease and parasites.

Prioritize Bloodwork For Your Pet

If you’re looking to minimize costs, discomfort for your pet, and time at the vet, bloodwork is the best path to take. With a consistent record of various health indicators, we can diagnose and treat your pet from a preventative, instead of reactive, standpoint. Annual labwork allows us to spot changes that are more specific to an individual thus helping us catch changes in health earlier. Plus, you can ask for your pet’s health records at any time and learn how to understand changes in their health, too! You’ll know what to expect and be able to keep both yourself and your furry friend calm in case of emergency.

At Harmony Veterinary Center, we strive to provide an integrated healthcare experience that enriches the lives of pets and people. To follow this goal, our everyday practices must reflect that comprehensive understanding of a cat or dog. Bloodwork is part of the foundation of this. They may seem trivial or even redundant, but they are the key to understanding pet wellness.To learn more about bloodwork and wellness, check out our blog.