Health Screening Tests

Wellness Screening

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Wellness tests are blood tests performed to ensure the health of your pet. These blood tests allow us to anticipate any problems before your pet becomes clinically sick, in an attempt to modify the disease process and improve your pet’s quality of life.

Pets are great at hiding disease, and often by the time they look sick- it is more difficult to help them. The most important aspect of blood work is to monitor changes over time, to ensure that our treatment and management decisions are effective. Wellness screening changes as your pet goes through different life stages.

Tests generally include a:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Electrolyte Profile
  • Chemistry Profile
  • Thyroid Function Test
  • Urinalysis

Pre-Anesthetic Testing

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Although anesthesia and surgery today are very safe, some risks still exist. By performing a physical examination and conduction some simple tests before putting your pet under anesthesia, we can minimize those risks even further. Our pets can’t talk to us and tell us when they are not feeling well. Often, the only way we can find out something is wrong is through diagnostic testing. Then, steps can be taken to reduce potential complications. The anesthetic protocol can be adjusted, or treatment for the medical condition can be started before surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia.

Testing can identify many pre-existing conditions that may pose a significant health risk to your pet. These conditions include heart, liver, and kidney problems or systematic diseases such as diabetes or cancer. Although procedures such as neuters, spays, and dental cleanings are often considered “routine” they are anesthetic procedures. Where surgery is concerned, preanesthetic testing can help ensure the best outcome for your pet. Preanesthetic testing gives our veterinary team the knowledge to keep your pet safe during the surgical procedure.
We will take a small amount of blood from your pet and run the bloodwork prior to the procedure. We will have the results generally within 20 minutes.
We run a complete blood count (CBC) and either six or twelve blood chemistry parameters with electrolyte levels to give us a better look into whether or not a pet under-going anesthesia could be suffering from anemia, dehydration, infection, parasitism, bone marrow dysfunction, liver disease, kidney disease, etc.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

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Knowing if your dog has this condition before an emergency situation arises can mean the difference between life and death. Similar to hemophilia in humans, von Willebrand’s disease can result in life-threatening bleeding. Many dogs that carry this disease in their genetic makeup go undetected until a minor surgery or small, superficial injury results in significant blood loss.

We offer testing for this disease, which is a highly inheritable trait in some breeds. As many as 50% of Dobermans are affected; other commonly affected breeds include German shepherds, German shorthaired and wirehaired pointers, golden and Chesapeake Bay retrievers, Pembroke Welsh corgis, poodles, Scottish and Manchester terriers, and Shetland sheepdogs. If you have an at-risk breed, we recommend that you have your dog tested.

Some animals show no signs of the disease but are carriers of this genetic problem. If these dogs are allowed to reproduce, they can pass the disease on to their offspring. If you are a breeder, we strongly recommend testing for von Willebrand’s disease before breeding your dogs. Please call us to schedule this test.

Renal Dysplasia

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Renal dysplasia is a disorder in which the kidneys do not develop normally. It most commonly affects Shih Tzus, Lhasa apsos, and soft-coated wheaten terriers. Dogs usually become clinically ill before one year of age.

Unfortunately, this genetic disease has no cure; many affected dogs will develop kidney failure. Management options are extremely limited and generally expensive. Although some dogs are only carriers of this disorder and have normal kidney function, they can still pass the trait onto their offspring.

If you’re a breeder, testing for renal dysplasia can significantly reduce your chances of breeding this inherited problem in your dogs. Please call us to schedule this test.

Hip Dysplasia

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Canine hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joint) begins when the hip joint in a young dog becomes loose or unstable. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this instability causes abnormal wear of the hip cartilage and ultimately progresses to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Signs of this condition are pain, reluctance to get up or exercise, difficulty climbing stairs, a “bunny-hopping” gait, limping, and lameness, especially after periods of inactivity or exercise.

Hip dysplasia most commonly affects large- and giant-breed dogs; however, smaller dogs can also be affected. Although genetics often play a role in this disorder, young dogs that grow or gain weight too quickly or get too much high-impact exercise are also at risk. Being overweight can aggravate hip dysplasia.

We can help prevent or slow this condition by monitoring food intake and ensuring that your dog gets proper exercise as he or she ages. We can also screen your dog for hip dysplasia, using one of two methods. The earlier we can diagnose hip dysplasia, the better the possible outcome for your dog.

OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Certification:

We can x-ray your dog’s hips for hip dysplasia at 2 years of age. We will forward these radiographs to the OFA, where board-certified radiologists will evaluate and grade your dog’s hips for OFA certification. Correct positioning of your dog is essential for proper radiographic evaluation, so a general anesthetic is required to make the procedure less stressful for him or her.

PennHIP Method:

We can x-ray your dog’s hips using the PennHIP method for evaluating hip dysplasia in dogs, which can be performed much earlier (at 16 weeks of age) than OFA certification. Requiring a general anesthetic, it involves x-raying your dog’s hips in three different positions to measure how loose the joints are and determine the presence or likelihood of osteoarthritis. If you are a breeder, consider using this test to help you select good breeding candidates at a younger age. If your dog competes athletically, consider using this technique to evaluate the future soundness of your dogs or puppies.

Please call us to discuss your dog’s risk of developing hip dysplasia, to schedule a screening, or to discuss treatment options.