When Is Blood Work Necessary for Your Pet?

Our furry companions are more than just pets; they are family members. Just like any other family member, their health and well-being are of paramount importance to us. This sometimes entails more than just providing a loving home, regular meals, and daily walks. It means making sure they receive the necessary medical care throughout their lives – and this includes routine blood work.

Veterinary Diagnostic Services

Some situations call for specialized vet laboratory services in Ankeny, IA, or similar well-equipped locations. These services provide a wide range of diagnostic tests that can reveal issues that regular screenings might not show. Whether it’s a comprehensive metabolic panel, hormonal tests, or infectious disease screenings, these advanced diagnostics are invaluable tools for veterinarians.

Having up-to-date equipment and technology in a veterinary diagnostic lab means that pets can receive accurate diagnoses more quickly, leading to prompt and effective treatments.

Blood Work for Your Pet

Blood work for pets, often referred to collectively as a Complete Blood Count (CBC) or blood panel, is an essential tool in veterinary medicine. These blood tests help vets diagnose illnesses, understand the extent of injuries, and monitor the overall health of our beloved animals. But when, exactly, is blood work necessary for your pet?

When Is it Necessary?

1. Regular Health Check-ups

One of the most common times blood work is recommended is during your pet’s regular health check-up. Just as humans should have annual physicals, pets, too, should undergo routine examinations. Blood work during these visits can catch early signs of disease even before symptoms appear, making treatment more straightforward and less costly in the long run.

  • Early detection of kidney and liver disease
  • Assessment of blood sugar levels to rule out diabetes
  • Checking for heartworm disease and other parasites
  • Monitoring red and white blood cell counts to detect anemia or infections

2. Before Surgical Procedures

Pre-surgical blood work is a critical step before any surgery, from simple tooth extraction to more complex procedures. It helps ensure that your pet can safely undergo anesthesia and provides a baseline for future reference.

  • Evaluating organ function
  • Identifying potential anesthetic risks
  • Confirming proper blood clotting ability

3. Unexplained Symptoms or Illness

If your pet is showing signs of illness or behaving unexpectedly, your veterinarian may suggest blood work to help determine the cause. Symptoms such as:

  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Lethargy or lack of energy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea that persists
  • Changes in drinking or urination habits

These could all be reasons to take a closer look at your pet’s bloodwork to diagnose potential health issues.

4. Monitoring Chronic Conditions and Medications

Pets with chronic conditions such as thyroid issues or arthritis may require regular blood tests to monitor the disease’s progression or response to treatment. Similarly, certain medications can affect organ function over time, and blood work can help detect any adverse effects early on.

  • Thyroid hormone level checks for pets with thyroid disease
  • Liver enzyme monitoring for pets on long-term medications
  • Kidney function tests for pets with chronic kidney disease

5. Pet Emergencies

In the unfortunate event that your pet requires emergency care, blood work often plays a crucial role in providing timely and critical vet care. Whether it’s due to an accident, acute illness, or sudden onset of symptoms, a quick analysis of blood can give vital insights into what’s happening inside your pet’s body that may not be immediately visible from the outside.

6. Geriatric Veterinary Care

As our pets age, their needs change, and they become more susceptible to age-related diseases. Geriatric pets, specifically, require more frequent monitoring and a tailored approach to their health care. Veterinary geriatric care for senior cats and dogs includes more frequent blood work screenings. This can help manage chronic conditions and ensure the golden years of your pet are comfortable and healthy.

Benefits of Proactive Blood Work

Proactive blood work for pets offers several benefits, emphasizing the importance of preventive care in maintaining their health. Here are some key advantages:

  • Establishing Baseline Values: Regular blood work helps establish a baseline for your pet’s normal values, including parameters like blood cell counts, liver enzymes, and kidney function. Knowing what is normal for your pet allows veterinarians to detect deviations early on.
  • Early Detection of Diseases: One of the primary benefits is the early detection of diseases. Blood tests can reveal abnormalities that may indicate the presence of a medical condition, even before clinical signs become apparent. Detecting diseases at an early stage often provides a better chance for successful treatment.
  • Early Intervention and Treatment: Proactive blood work allows for early intervention and treatment. When abnormalities are identified, veterinarians can implement treatment plans promptly, potentially preventing the progression of the disease and minimizing the impact on your pet’s health.
  • Prevention of Disease Progression: Identifying and addressing health issues in their early stages can prevent certain conditions from worsening. Early intervention may include lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, or specific medications, helping to manage or even reverse the progression of certain diseases.
  • Cost Savings: Proactive blood work can lead to cost savings in the long run. Detecting and addressing health issues early may prevent the need for more extensive and expensive treatments that would be required if a condition progresses to an advanced stage. Regular monitoring can also help avoid emergency veterinary visits.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Timely detection and management of health issues contribute to an improved quality of life for your pet. By addressing problems early, you can help ensure that your pet maintains good health and experiences a higher level of well-being throughout their life.
  • Tailored Preventive Care Plans: Based on the results of proactive blood work, veterinarians can develop personalized preventive care plans for your pet. This may include vaccination schedules, parasite prevention, and dietary recommendations to address specific health concerns.
  • Peace of Mind for Pet Owners: Regular blood work provides pet owners with peace of mind, knowing that they are actively monitoring their pet’s health. It fosters a proactive approach to pet care, promoting a sense of responsibility and commitment to the well-being of their furry companions.


Maintaining the health of your pet through regular veterinary care, including blood work, is an investment in their quality of life. Whether it’s part of a routine check-up, preparation for surgery, a response to concerning symptoms, or part of an emergency, blood tests are an invaluable part of ensuring your pet receives the best possible care. By understanding when and why blood work is necessary, you make informed decisions that contribute to your pet’s well-being, reinforcing the bond you share with your furry companion.