Health42SOME FACTS:
• Pets are now family members.
• Owners want pets to live the best quality life possible
• One year in the life of a pet is the same as 5-7 in a human.
• One year represents 10-20% of a pet’s life span.
• Detecting disease early prolongs quality life.
• Preventing disease is much cheaper than treating disease.

REASONS FOR PET HEALTH SCREENING:
• Pets can’t talk.
• Pets hide illness.
• Clinical signs of disease often do not develop until late in the disease process.
• Many diseases can be detected much earlier through laboratory testing.
• Laboratory screening is very reasonable in cost.
• Screening increases the safety during anesthesia.
• Screening provides “baselines” for future assessment when the pet is sick.
• Screening provides “peace of mind.”

RECOMMENDED PET HEALTH SCREENING PROCEDURES:
• URINALYSIS: Kidney disease becomes first evident in the urine. Microscopic and chemical evaluation of the urine allows us to detect early kidney degeneration BEFORE it can cause serious health problems. Often changes in the diet are all that is needed to stop or slow down the problem.
• COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT (CBC): Blood analysis allows evaluation for anemia, nutritional status, and presence of inflammation, stress, and inability to fight disease, specific diseases, and clotting defects.
• BLOOD CHEMISTRY SCREEN: A series of chemical tests to evaluate the function of the kidneys, liver, pancreas, thyroid, and other body organs.
• ECG SCREENING: A very affordable screening of the heart’s rhythm to detect abnormalities, which hint of more serious problems.
• GLAUCOMA SCREENING: New instrumentation makes screening for glaucoma possible. The end result of glaucoma is blindness. Treatment requires detecting increased ocular pressure early.

WHAT HAPPENS IF ABNORMALITIES ARE FOUND?
“Health Screening” is a newly recommended strategy to prolong your pet’s life. The foundation of successful disease prevention is early detection. “Senior Pet Health Screenings” are the tools that can give us the first hint of a problem so the potential problem can be explored much earlier than simply waiting for clinical signs to become evident—often coming “too late” to slow the progression of the disease or condition.

BLOOD CHEMISTRY SCREENS:
Blood Screening for disease is a routine procedure in human medicine. Chemical analysis of a small blood sample probably gives the most complete evaluation of the overall body condition. In the early stages of disease, many subtle changes occur in the blood composition that can give us hints of future problems before they become serious.
When these changes can be detected early, we can often make relative minor changes in the diet or institute medications that will yield a longer, healthier life for your pet. We suggest a yearly Blood Screen be done on all dogs and cats starting at five years of age. We need only a very small blood sample to perform testing for the major internal organ problems. This is important since our friends cannot speak to us regarding their health. With our automated laboratory services, we can obtain results from the profile within a maximum of 48 hours. Because we feel strongly that this screening should be a part of every pet’s annual physical, we are able to offer a series of tests at a fee much less than that for individual test. Automation has made this testing very affordable and we strongly recommend use of this diagnostic tool to give your pet the best chance for a quality life-style for the maximum number of years.
The tests we recommend in the blood profile are listed below along with the organs examined with each test:
• ALBUMIN (ALB): The liver produces albumin. Reduced levels of this protein in the blood can point to chronic liver or kidney disease, or parasitic infections like hookworms.
• ALANINE AMINOTRANSFERASE (ALT): This enzyme is elevated in liver disease.
• ALKALINE PHOSPHATASE (ALKP): The liver produces this enzyme. Elevated levels may indicate liver disease or other endocrine disease, such as Cushing’s syndrome.
• AMYLASE (AMYL): The pancreas produces and secretes amylase to aid in digestion. Elevated blood levels can indicate pancreatic and/or kidney disease.
• BLOOD UREA NITROGEN (BUN): is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidney. Testing for it helps to detect liver and kidney abnormalities.
• CALCIUM (Ca+2): Increased levels of this mineral can be an indicator of certain types of tumors, parathyroid or kidney disease.
• CHOLESTEROL (CHOL): Elevated levels of cholesterol are seen in a variety of disorders including hypothyroidism and diseases of the liver and kidney.
• CREATININE (CREA): Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease or urinary obstruction.
• BLOOD GLUCOSE (GLU): High levels can help diagnose diabetes and can indicate stress especially in cats. Low levels can indicate liver disease.
• PHOSPHOROUS (PHOS): It can be an indicator of kidney disease when elevated.
• TOTAL BILIRUBIN (TBIL): A component of bile, bilirubin is secreted by the liver into the intestinal tract. Blood bilirubin levels are useful in diagnosing problems originating in the bile ducts.
• TOTAL PROTEIN (TP): The level of TP can suggest a variety of conditions including dehydration and diseases of the liver, kidney, or gastrointestinal tract.
• ELECTROLYTES (Sodium, Potassium, Chloride): The balance of these chemicals is vital to your pet’s health. Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiac symptoms.
• THYROID TESTING: Determination of the level of several thyroid hormones allows the diagnosis of an under-active or hyperactive thyroid. The thyroid hormones affect weight gain/loss, kidney function, and heart muscle.