Blood Work & Lab Testing – An Internal Physical Exam

Have you ever gone to the veterinarian and be told that they recommend annual blood work for your pet?

There is a reason for this, as most pet owner’s only think about blood work or lab tests when their pet is sick. However just like their human counter parts, pets too should have lab tests done once a year for their overall health evaluation.  Lab work is considered an internal examination for your pet. It is also essential if your pet is sick or having any kind of surgery performed.

Preventive screening:

It has always been recommended to do lab work for sick pets, pets going under anesthesia and pets that are considered to be in their senior years; however it has become more of a practice to start pets by the time that they turn one year of age. It is best to start blood work and lab tests on your pet as soon as possible and then continue yearly. Having base line results, will help your vet with monitoring the overall health of your pet in addition to any changes you may see at home. These results will be recorded and then reviewed each year against the new results. This will help to determine if there have been any changes that the Doctor may need to address.

Sick pets:

Your pets can not tell you when they are feeling bad, but knowing your pet as you do will let you know when something just isn’t right. Maybe your pet is drinking and urinating more then normal. Maybe their tummy hurts because they ate something they shouldn’t have. Maybe you noticed a lump that wasn’t there before. These are just example of some things that you may notice or there may be no signs besides they are just not acting like their normal selves.  For these reasons, blood work and lab tests are always recommended. Depending on your pets symptoms labs may be ran in-house or sent out to the reference lab.

Once the results are in, then the doctor will treat with the proper medications and treatments or he may advise that additional tests may be needed to further diagnosis the problem.

Drug Monitoring:

There are some medications that require continuous lab monitoring. Drug Monitoring is done to ensure that every medication your pet is currently on are being given at the correct dosage or if it may need to be adjusted.  It also allows us to see if there are any side effects that may be causing any changes to your pet and address them in the proper manner and ensuring that the kidneys and liver are functioning at their best levels.  Lab work is very important and should be done as directed by the vet in order to continue on medications.


Even the healthiest of pets are required to do blood work before going under anesthesia.  You may question as to why this needs to be done, but you never know what may or may not be found. Example: You just got a 6 month old puppy and he is coming in for a neuter. He looks healthy and happy and upon his initial physical exam the vet says that he looks great. However when it comes time for his neuter and the blood work is done, it shows that his liver values are very high. Due to these findings the surgery can not proceed. Instead additional tests need to be preformed to determine what may be causing this.  The health and safety of the pet is the most important aspect and pre-anesthetic lab test help us to provide just that.

Your vet and his staff are here to help with any questions that you may have about the blood work and lab tests. Understanding why blood work is needed and the benefits of it, will help you and your vet in keeping your pets happy, healthy and living a long life.