Blood work. When you’re in the vet’s office and you hear those words, do you cringe? You shouldn’t. Not all veterinarians are the best at communicating why they recommend doing X, Y, or Z. And as the person paying for your dog’s bill, you have every right to understand what and why.
Since your furry friend can’t talk and tell you what’s going on, the vet’s first go to is the physical examination combined with a history. You know that point when they’re pressing and feeling all over your pooch (who may or may not appreciate it)? That’s the DVMs starting point. After that, the doctor’s best picture of your dog’s overall health is blood work. It can sound scary but it’s really the next best step. It can tell them a number of things like blood count, liver function, etc. Think of blood as a river of information.
The results, be they from an outside lab or within your vet office comes to them and it’s their job to call/email you after interpreting the blood work. They’ll let you know if any of the various results tells them anything; indications of disease or malfunction. If your dog is sick and the blood work tells the doctor nothing, it’s understandably frustrating. But then you can move on to step 3…whatever that is.
So please remember that blood work can be an important and functional tool for assessing your pet’s health. Even if it tells you nothing is wrong on an internal level, at least you and your vet know that. You can establish a base line of what is going on when your dog is healthy. Blood work is often used to monitor drugs in the body, monitoring senior animals as they age, and making sure that Fido is healthy enough inside and out to undergo a surgical procedure.
What about the down sides? There’s always cost, the other can be that your dog may have abnormal blood results but be completely healthy; the anomaly. It happens. But again, then you KNOW and that’s half the battle. That’s why a full exam and history/observations should accompany blood work.
Want some more in depth information on what blood work can/can’t do? Check out: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/2_4/features/5191-1.html