At Aspen Animal Hospital, we recommend bringing your companions in at least once a year to evaluate their health. At their annual visits, there are some tests that we may recommend for your companions. Here are a few reasons why we may recommend them and why they are important!

When you don’t feel well, you can tell your family members, friends, or doctor. When your pet doesn’t feel well, she can’t so easily convey how she’s feeling. External signs of many diseases often aren’t evident until significant internal damage has been done. That’s why we recommend regular preventive care visits and lab testing for your pet.

A seemingly healthy pet upon physical exam could be suffering from a number of early-stage diseases that are wreaking havoc below the surface. Here are a few of the tests we may recommend during your pet’s next visit:

Heartworm Tests

When a dog or cat (even an indoor-only cat) is bitten by a mosquito carrying heartworm disease, the heartworm larvae are passed into the animal’s body, where they begin traveling through the bloodstream until they reach the heart and lungs. They stay there and mature into adult heartworms, a process that takes about six months.

There are few, if any, early signs of heartworm disease, so an annual heartworm test is important. The earlier heartworm is diagnosed, the better your pet’s chances of recovery.

Fecal analysis

Providing a fresh stool sample at your pet’s next exam will help us to identify internal parasites that can cause severe gastrointestinal problems, including:

  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms
  • Giardia
  • Coccidia

If we detect evidence of these parasites in your pet’s stool, we’ll prescribe medication to treat them quickly.

Blood tests

We typically recommend annual blood testing for senior pets to screen for common age-related health conditions. We’ll also conduct blood tests before your pet is placed under anesthesia for a procedure. A basic blood test can tell us:

  • Complete blood count — This test reveals anemia, dehydration, infection, and more.
  • Liver function — Devastating diseases, like hepatitis and cirrhosis, can be detected with this test.
  • Kidney function — Kidney failure is a common cause of death in dogs and cats, and the disease doesn’t cause external signs until the kidneys are beyond repair and treatment is no longer helpful. Detecting the disease early can add years to your pet’s life.
  • Blood glucose — This test tells us if your pet has developed diabetes.

Has your pet visited the vet in the last year? Call us to schedule an appointment.