Preventative screening at the vet hospital is an extremely important part of your pet’s veterinary and health care. There are many diseases that are not easily detected through physical examinations only. By running preventative tests once a year on your patients, you can diagnose common diseases, such as diabetes, parasitism and kidney disease, and introduce a management plan before the disease becomes advanced. Since every animal is unique, annual screening also determines what is normal for each patient. Tracking these results over the years can help diagnose problems earlier in order to respond quickly to stop serious, life threatening diseases. Ultimately, early detection leads to better outcomes, stronger quality of life and reduced treatment costs. The type of preventative care depends on the stage of life and age your pet is at. Your pet’s body and organs change as they get older and become more susceptible to certain diseases at different ages.
The Young Years: 0-2 years old
The beginning years of your pet’s life are important to emphasize the importance of preventative healthcare. During these years it is important to collect blood, urine and fecal samples to determine health status. Fecal exams should be collected 2-4 times during the first year of life to test for parasites and fecal borne diseases. Felines should be tested for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus using the FIV/FeLV SNAP test regardless of lifestyle as an indoor or outdoor cat. Canines should be tested for vector-borne diseases, including heartworm and lyme disease, after the first year, especially if the dog lives in an at risk area.
Mid Age: 3-7 years old
These years are important in establishing baseline results to determine what is normal for your pet. Blood, urine and fecal tests should be done annually to specify what is normal for your pet and to detect any problems that could lead to disease. Felines that are sick or live in at risk areas should be tested for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus by the FIV/FeLV SNAP test. Canines in at risk areas should be tested for vector-borne diseases, including heartworm and lyme disease. Vet Hospital
The Senior Years: 8 years and older
As your pet gets older, they become more susceptible to diseases as their organs age and the immune system becomes weaker. During their older years, it is extremely important to detect disease early on. Diseases such as chronic kidney disease, thyroid diseases, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, and diabetes become more common in older pets. To determine if your pet is starting to develop these diseases it is recommended to run blood, urine and fecal samples in certain panels that test for these diseases. Felines should be tested again for feline immunodeficiency and feline leukemia virus if they are in at risk areas or showing signs of sickness and have previously been tested. Canines should be tested again for vector-borne diseases if living in an at risk area.
For a baseline screening your pet should have at the Vet Hospital, a complete blood count, biochemistry and electrolyte level tests, urinalysis, tick borne and heartworm tests, feline retrovirus, fecal tests, and thyroid tests done regularly. Prevention will always be your pet’s best friend for their health. Annual checkups can overlook diseases that are not easily detected through a physical examination. A screening of your pet’s health can diagnose diseases earlier. Baseline screening is also important to determine what results are normal for your pet. Trending annual and regular results can lead to earlier diagnosis, improved outcome and lower treatment costs in the future.
To learn more about the preventive care options discussed in this article please visit www.idexx.ca/preventivecare