The Value of Good Health: Screening Tests for Your Pet
Regular screening tests are an essential part of your pet’s preventive health care plan, as they are vital for detecting disease, monitoring overall health, and guiding treatment plans. Without screening tests, disease can smolder in your pet, causing a decline in their quality of life. Although normal results may not seem exciting, they are fantastic news about your pet’s health. Read on to learn more benefits of regular screening tests for you and your four-legged friend.
#1: Regular screening tests establish a baseline for your pet’s health
Although cats and dogs tend to follow species-specific guidelines, each pet is an individual and some of their test results, such as blood glucose concentration, urine specific gravity, or resting heart rate, may fall outside the reference range. While a singular test that detects these “abnormalities” may spur us to recommend additional testing to determine the cause, a series of screening tests that have the same abnormal result over the years will ease our worries. However, we will continue to closely monitor these minor test result differences over your pet’s lifetime so we do not miss subtle changes that can indicate disease.
By performing screening tests at each wellness visit, we can build your pet’s health baseline, specific to their particular quirks. Any variance from this baseline will let us know that your pet may have an internal problem that requires further investigation.
#2: Regular screening tests can detect early disease in your pet
Pets are incredibly skilled at hiding illness and disease signs until they have advanced and are causing serious problems. For example, pets can lose two-thirds of their kidney function before they begin showing signs of nausea, vomiting, and excessive thirst and urination. Standard blood work also will not detect kidney dysfunction until that point, but a specialized kidney test called an SDMA test can spot kidney disease much sooner. Pets at greater risk for developing certain diseases, like cats and chronic renal failure, benefit from customized screening test protocols. By adding this kidney test to your pet’s routine screening tests, we can detect kidney disease in its earliest stages and take appropriate action to provide a better outcome.
#3: Regular screening tests are invaluable
Although paying for screening tests when your pet appears perfectly healthy may seem unnecessary, your peace of mind, knowing that your furry pal is in good health, is priceless. When your pet’s screening test results are normal, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can for your pet.
In addition, regular screening tests can save you money in the long run, because they can detect disease in early stages, making advanced testing and intensive treatment unnecessary, and allowing more economical treatment and a better prognosis.
#4: Regular screening tests can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases
Pets can unknowingly carry a multitude of pathogens and parasites that can infect other pets or people. Without regular screening tests, you have no way of knowing your pet is a silent carrier of a disease that you could contract. While year-round parasite prevention and regular vaccinations can protect you and your pet from many pathogens, no preventive health care is 100% effective.
Routine screening tests, such as fecal exams, infectious disease testing, and vector-borne testing, can determine if your pet is carrying intestinal parasites, shedding feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or harboring Lyme disease, and the test results can guide you on managing your pet’s lifestyle to prevent disease transmission.
#5: Regular screening tests can improve your pet’s quality of life
Screening tests provide a great deal of information about your pet’s health status that you may not otherwise realize. For example, without a regular wellness exam, you may not know your pet has dental disease, is overweight, or is developing cataracts. But, we can spot these health concerns on a thorough annual or biannual physical exam and outline a treatment plan designed to improve your pet’s quality of life.
Regular screening tests are an essential part of your pet’s preventive health care plan, and are critical for early disease detection that can lead to better outcomes. Give our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team a call to schedule your four-legged friend’s wellness visit.