What is Annual Veterinary Wellness Testing?
Annual Veterinary Wellness Testing involves sampling your pet’s blood (and urine if possible) to look for any signs of early problems that may not yet be causing visible symptoms. Recent studies (see Studies, below) have shown that annual veterinary wellness testing is a powerful way to detect hidden health problems in seemingly normal, healthy pets.
Why Test Annually?
It’s unfortunate, but pets age much faster than we do and their health can change very quickly as a result, even with “slowly” advancing (chronic) problems. Combine this with the fact that pets cannot tell us if they are not feeling well (and often will hide symptoms of disease, especially cats), and you can see that a lot can change from year for a pet’s health.
By testing annually, you can help to ensure that your pet is in optimal health, and can catch (and treat!) early disease much sooner than waiting for your pet to show signs of illness. Annual testing also gives us a “baseline” value of your pet’s normal heath status. Any deviation from this baseline in the following years can be a powerful early indicator of problems.
In the past, good studies on the value of annual veterinary wellness testing were lacking, but with a growing focus on pet wellness throughout veterinary medicine, good new studies are available, and they prove the value of annual wellness testing combines with annual wellness checkups.
One of the first of these studies, “An Assessment of Preventive Healthcare Blood Testing in Dogs” co-authored by Dr. Hans Christoffersen (owner of Lakeview Animal Hospital) is slated to be published in early 2017. It looked at annual veterinary wellness testing done on over 1,500 dogs and cats. The results were remarkable:
Remember: This study was done on dogs and cats that appeared completely normal and healthy and had bloodwork done for other reasons (for example, a pre-anesthetic blood panel to ensure it was safe to perform surgery).
What this shows us is that a significant number of dogs and cats of all ages showed signs of sub-clinical (unseen) problems. Many of the problems found were early indicators of diseases that can be managed. By finding and managing these diseases earlier, we give your pet the best possible to have a long and healthy life.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that annual veterinary wellness testing allows us to find and manage potential health problems earlier, keeping your pet healthier and happier over their lifetime.
If you would like to learn more about annual veterinary wellness testing, or you would like book an annual wellness test for your pet (often done alongside your pet’s annual wellness checkup), please book an appointment today.