As conscientious owners to our feathered, scaly or furry friends, we are entirely responsible for the physical and emotional wellbeing of our beloved creatures. Unfortunately, our pets aren’t particularly helpful in that respect since they naturally hide any illness to the best of their ability so that they don’t look weak or vulnerable.
While we can look out for signs and symptoms of illness, often these don’t come until our much-loved companions are so poorly that they have little choice but to show them. At this point, the underlying problem can be severe.
Preventing illness is always far better for our pets than treating it once it is well established, both in terms of protecting our animals from the effects of disease or infection, and the overall outcome for their wellbeing. Fortunately, there are now more options for early detection of illness in pets than ever before.
What is early detection?
As the name suggests, early detection is a way of identifying health problems before they can take a firm hold on your pet and cause pain, debilitating effects and long-lasting or permanent damage to her body. Since our pets age must faster than we do (one human year is the equivalent to at least seven pet years depending on the species you have), their bodies undergo changes much more rapidly. For this reason, it is particularly important to keep an extremely close eye on the health of your pet. Even if the tests come back and show that your pet is perfectly healthy, they can be stored and used for comparison against later testing.
Early detection usually comprises of three types of testing.
Complete Blood Count – Also known as CBC, this is a type of blood screening that checks for the number of red and white blood cells your pet has. The results of this test can indicate whether your pet is suffering from anemia (too few red blood cells), or if she is already fighting some form of disease. A raised white blood cell count is typically a reliable symptom of infection, inflammation or some other disease.
Blood Chemistry Profile – Your pet’s blood contains many different chemicals and enzymes that are important for her health and the function of her internal organs. The results of this test can tell our vet if your pet is experiencing kidney/liver disease, metabolic disorders, digestive or thyroid problems, diabetes or many other potentially dangerous conditions.
Urinalysis – A sample of your pet’s urine can also provide our vet with important information about many health conditions, including hydration levels, kidney and liver function and even tumors.
Early detection dental screening
Some veterinarians also offer early detection dental screening. Around one in three cats and dogs will develop periodontal disease by the time they reach three years of age. This is an inflammatory condition which sees plaque from the teeth penetrate below the gums, causing irritation and infection. If not addressed, periodontal disease can lead to extreme pain, loss of teeth, widespread infection that affects other parts of the body and eventually causes irreversible damage to organs including the kidneys, liver and heart.
However, regular dental check-ups with our veterinarian at Nippers Corner Pet Medical Center, offered as part of an early detection package, can mean that periodontal disease is identified, and treatment is started early, before too much damage can be done.
Our veterinarian in Nashville is the perfect partner for ensuring that your pet remains as healthy and happy as possible during her lifetime. Contact us and speak to our veterinary team in Nashville, TN about early detection testing today.