Why do we urge pet parents to get annual wellness lab work for their pets? Because lab work is so important to good health and a long, happy life.
Early detection of illness and disease is essential to preventative medicine—and the key to a long, happy life for your pet. That’s why we start lab work when your pet is young and healthy.
Testing your healthy pet establishes an individual baseline of normal test results and values. Repeated lab work can spot trends, even subtle changes, to allow early intervention. Plus, we can gain invaluable health information when we compare tests later on in life.
Consistent lab work can detect issues throughout the body before any outward signs are present. Early detection means easier, less expensive care. We recommend lab work because it is the best thing for your pet.
What We Test
Below are brief descriptions of many common wellness tests we perform for your pets at AHBC.
Chemistry Panel: Glucose Level
Elevated glucose, or sugar, in the blood is a sign of diabetes. Low glucose is a sign of other serious diseases, and sometimes cancer.
We test levels of BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) and Creatinine (Creat), which are metabolic waste products the kidneys remove from the bloodstream, as well as for phosphorus, which is often elevated in animals with kidney disease and/or kidney failure.
The liver has many functions. It removes bacteria and toxins, digests food, and produces proteins, glucose, and cholesterol.
We test for ALT, which is a liver cell enzyme that indicates liver cell injury if elevated; ALP (Alkaline Phosphatase) and GGT, liver enzymes that become elevated with bile duct obstruction; ALB (albumin), a protein produced in the liver potentially decreased with impaired liver function; BUN, glucose, globulins, and cholesterol, which are all produced by the liver and indicate liver dysfunction if decreased; and total bilirubin, which indicates bile duct obstruction if increased.
The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and hormones to regulate metabolism. We test for AMYL (amylase) and LIPA (lipase), pancreatic enzymes that are elevated due to cellular injury and inflammation.
Electrolytes are critical to many vital body functions. Dehydration, vomiting, kidney disease, and diabetes are all common causes of electrolyte imbalances. We test for Na (sodium), K (potassium), and Cl (chloride); even mild increases and decreases in electrolytes can indicate serious disease and have serious—even life-threatening—consequences.
Complete Blood Count: CBC
The CBC tests for red blood cells, which make up almost half of the total blood volume. RBCs contain a special protein called hemoglobin (HGB) that binds to the oxygen in the lungs and allows the RBCs to carry oxygen to the entire body. We measure red blood cell mass and several others factors that describe the RBCs.
The CBC also tests for white blood cells, which fight infection. There are five types of white blood cells that perform specific functions to keep the body healthy. We test the levels of each of them to determine the presence of infection or trauma, the health of the immune system, and the presence of allergies or parasitic diseases.
Finally, the CBC indicates a platelet count. Platelets play a critical role in preventing bleeding.
Thyroid Test: T4
Thyroxine (T4) is produced by the thyroid gland. T4 is a hormone that is essential for growth and metabolism. Elevated T4 can cause weight loss, hyperactivity, and heart damage. Decreased T4 can cause weight gain, coat thinning, panting, and lethargy.
Urinalysis includes the physical, chemical, and microscopic evaluation of urine. This test provides additional information about the kidneys, the liver, and diabetes, and checks for infection and loss of protein.
To schedule a wellness visit, call us at (919) 797-2030 or request an appointment online. We’re happy to describe in detail what tests best suit your pet!