Thursday, Feb. 2nd 2017

Lab Testing, Appointment Scheduling, and Events

Blood, Pee, and other Wonderful Tools

OK, yes, we vets maybe look at bodily fluids a little differently than the average person.  But this month we wanted to share with you the importance of laboratory testing on your pet and why we vets take such an interest in doing lab work.  Some pet owners have come to believe that vets order lab testing just to increase the bottom line on  the invoice.  Not speaking for all vets, but in the majority of cases, these tests are suggested for specific reasons.

It’s recommended that all pets have baseline testing done before age 7.  Hopefully, at this age everything will be more or less normal and these values can be compared to later tests to determine trends.  After age 7, blood and urine testing should be performed at least once a year, and twice is twice as good.  The earlier illness is detected, the better it can be treated and the longer your pet may live. 

So what are these tests intended to tell us?  There are basically five main categories of common lab testing: blood chemistries, endocrine (glandular) function, complete blood counts, therapeutic monitoring, and urinalysis.  Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories:

Blood Chemistries:  This is a grouping of anywhere from half a dozen to nearly 20 different tests designed to check organ function.  Values for things like ALP, ALT, and bilirubin are looking at liver function or signs of liver damage.  Total protein can also indicate liver function as well as dehydration or strong immune response.  BUN, Creatinine, and the new SDMA test evaluate kidney function and are especially valuable in monitoring the effectiveness of treatment of kidney failure.  SDMA deserves a special mention as it is a newly available test through IDEXX laboratories that can catch kidney failure months to years sooner than just BUN/Creat.  Success in the management of kidney failure often depends on how early it is detected so be sure to ask your vet if SDMA is available if you don’t use our clinic.  Other tests in this grouping include pancreatic enzymes, electrolytes and other values that overall give a good picture of the health of things inside your pet that a vet can’t directly examine.

Endocrine Function:  These include thyroid testing, blood glucose, and add-on tests for such things as Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, etc.  The thyroid and blood glucose (for diabetes) are included in many screening tests these days.  Abnormalities in these tests indicate specific diseases and are used to monitor treatment success.

Complete Blood Counts:  This is actually an accounting of numbers of specific types of white blood cells, number and size and health of red blood cells, and a documentation of the percentage of each in your pet’s blood.  Abnormalities of these values can detect anemia, blood parasites, infection, inflammation, and even auto-immune disorders. 

Therapeutic Monitoring:  Quite simply, this is used to measure drug levels of specific medications in your pet’s bloodstream.  It’s used most often in epileptics but can be used for other diseases and their therapy as well.  It’s a way to make sure the drug dosage is correct for your pet.

Urinalysis:  The Golden Fluid…ah, yes.  Many people think of urine as just a waste product, but it provides a wealth of information about the health of your pet.  It can detect dehydration, kidney damage or failure, infection, bladder stones, diabetes, and so much more!  You can assume if you suspect your pet has a bladder infection that your vet will want a sample of urine before recommending treatment.  Keep in mind that in order to detect a bacterial infection, a sample will need to be drawn directly from the bladder with a needle as if it is simply caught as your pet urinates it can be contaminated with bacteria on the way out and we can’t be sure if the bacteria are in the bladder or not.

Hopefully, this article will clear up some confusion you may have about why your vet is recommending lab testing, especially if you think your pet is healthy.  Quite honestly, we vets have seen enough pets with fairly normal examination results that show organ failure or other problems on lab testing that we have no doubt of its value.  Next time your vet suggests lab testing, we hope you’ll give an enthusiastic OK!


Can We Help You? 

Dr. Leonard meets weekly with a group of business professionals in order to help each business grow to its full potential.  She is always happy to help her clients find a business they can trust.  If you are looking for anyone in the following fields, just give us a call or ask when you’re in the office:

Marketing/Graphic Design, Roofing, Home Renovation or post-fire/flood Restoration, Accounting/Taxes, Real Estate Agent, Photographer, Chiropractor, Security systems, Mortgages, Melaleuca Supplements, Auto Repair, Garage Door Replacement or Repair, Health Insurance, Young Living Essential Oils, Massage Therapist, Commercial banking services, Financial Advisor, Business Insurance, Residential or Business Cleaning, Mary Kay, or Property and Casualty Insurance

These are all trusted companies we don’t hesitate to call on for our own needs.  Many are at the top of their fields with years of experience, and are serious about delivering good customer service.  Just let us know if you need one!


FYI, Debbie’s knee replacement was successful and she plans to return to work Monday, February 6.  We welcome her back!  Once she has returned, we will start to schedule some appointments slightly differently.  Pam is a Veterinary Technician so is able to do many simple procedures and lab tests without Dr Leonard needing to be involved.  So, in order to open up more appointment slots each day, you may find that your pet is scheduled for part or all of their visit with Pam.  For example, Dr. Leonard may do the examination, then have your pet go to Pam once ok’d for vaccinations and heartworm test.  If you are scheduled for just a nail trim, or maybe a repeat on a cold laser treatment that Dr. Leonard has already prescribed, you may only need to schedule a Tech visit with Pam.  This should allow us to fit in more patients daily, thus helping you to be seen when it is more convenient for you.  We hope you’ll bear with us as we transition and try out new things to see how best to manage this change.

Upcoming Canine Massage Appointments: March 10 and April 21.  Please call 816-331-1868 to get your dog scheduled with Michelle.

Dr Leonard will be out of the office on the following Fridays:  February 24, March 3, March 17, and possibly March 24.  We apologize for any inconvenience. The office will still be open on those days with limited services and to take appointment calls.  

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Whole Health Pet Center
18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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