Ask Dr. Anna: Guthrie veterinary clinic discusses annual testing

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Annual blood testing is an important part of your pet’s annual exam.  A Guthrie veterinary clinic discusses which test should be done annually and why.

Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.
Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.

This is the fourth part of a Guthrie vet wants to take you on a journey.   The history and physical exam have been performed and it is now time to take some blood.  Your pet can’t tell us how he feels so blood work helps your veterinary team determine if he is healthy on the inside.

Annually testing your dog for heartworms is very important, even if you have your dog on heartworm prevention all year around and never misses a dose.   The primary reason for this is nothing is life is 100%!  We are all human and lead very busy lives and unfortunately, it is easy to miss a dose accidently.  I have had clients find their dog’s prevention hidden under the couch cushions months later.  If you pet vomits after being medicated and you don’t know, the medication may not have been absorbed into the bloodstream.  Heartworm disease is a silent disease and pets don’t show any symptoms until it is almost too late to treat.  This is the other reason your veterinarian should recommend annual heartworm testing.  Diagnosis and treatment prior to symptoms is always better for your pet.

Outside cats should be tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, especially if they have a history of cat fights or abscesses as these diseases are spread through saliva.  Both of these viruses are fatal and are contagious to other cats.

Pets over ten years old are considered senior and should have blood work performed to check liver, kidney and thyroid function.  Any pet on daily medication should have blood work done every six months to make sure that the medication are not causing any liver or kidney problems.  Discovering problems with internal organs before symptoms occur will help extend your pet’s life.  Listed below are some of the things that your veterinarian may be testing:

  1. Heartworms:  Most tests check for adult worms that live in the heart.
  2. Tick transmitted diseases:  Certain brands of heartworm tests also check for several tick transmitted diseases.
  3. Feline Leukemia and FIV:  These tests are checking for the virus in the blood.
  4. White blood cell count:  Increased levels may indicate infection or cancer.
  5. Red blood cell count:  Decreased levels may indicate internal or external parasites or chronic disease.
  6. Platelets:  Needed to clot blood.  Decreased levels may indicate tick transmitted disease.
  7. Liver function:  Increased levels indicate damage to the actual liver cells.
  8. Kidney function:  Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, dehydration, and blood loss from the intestinal tract or a high protein diet.
  9. Blood sugar:  Increased levels may indicate diabetes.
  10. Thyroid:  Increased levels are common in older cats with over active thyroid glands and decreased levels are common in dogs with under active thyroid glands.

It’s very common to find at least one abnormality on annual blood work.  By bringing your pet in for an annual exam, it allows your vet to discover problems before they become serious.  Has your pet had any blood work done lately?   If not call your veterinarian right now and schedule an appointment.


Please e-mail me with your questions at and put “Ask Dr. Anna” in the subject line or mail your questions to 123 West Harrison Guthrie, OK 73044.

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