You have thought long and hard, and the decision has finally been made, you are getting a puppy (or kitten). You have your puppy picked out and are going to pick him/her up tomorrow. You are BEYOND excited and decide to go and buy everything before you go pick him up: you get a basket full of toys because you aren’t sure which ones he will like, you get a food and water bowl, puppy food, a pillow for him to sleep on (even though you know he will be sleeping in bed with you), a collar with a matching leash, a sweater for every season and last but not least; the most important of all – his very own name tag with his new address and phone number on it. Of course, there is no sleeping that night, all you can think about is how exciting it will be to have a puppy (or kitten) in your home.
The next morning you are up extra early, stop at McDonald’s for breakfast and an extra-large coffee because there is NO time to make it at home and you are on your way. You get there to pick him up, get all the necessary paperwork completed and are now on your way home. He was a perfect angel on the way home – sleeps the entire way, which of course means that when you finally get home with him and he is WIDE awake and ready to play. He takes every single toy out of his basket and tests each one out trying to decide which one will be his favorite. Now, is the time to begin house training, scheduled feeding and (with hope) scheduled potty times as well. House training takes a little more time than you thought, but it finally happens. He has been taken to the Veterinarian, up to date with all his vaccines (which he did amazing for) and has just recently been neutered.
The years fly by, your once puppy is now a respectable 10 years old and you have been taking him to the vet annually for his vaccines, but have declined any extra bloodwork because he has been otherwise a very healthy dog. You get home from work one day and notice that he does not seem himself – you begin to think about it and he seems to have been drinking more water than normal and needing to go outside more than he used to. Now you begin to really think about it and he has been having a hard time getting out of his bed lately as well. You call and make an appointment with the veterinarian to see what might be going on. After being at the vet for about an hour, as they have done full bloodwork, a urine analysis and x-rays – you find out that your once young/active puppy has diabetes, is in kidney failure and has been diagnosed with arthritis as well. You now have to begin giving him insulin injections along with giving him a special prescription food for the kidney disease as well as supplements for his arthritis (which are yummy chewy tablets, so he will likely eat them as a treat).
Now you are thinking, if you had been doing the bloodwork as suggested by the veterinarian all this time – could this have been caught earlier? The answer is yes, having annual bloodwork done (especially once your animal gets to be 6-7 years or older) gives the veterinarian an idea of where each enzyme is at (we call this a Chem17 – looking mainly at liver and kidney functions as well as Pancreatitis and thyroid disease), as well as where his/her CBC is at – which looks for, among the more common: anemia, dehydration status or infections. If you begin to have bloodwork done at an earlier stage of life, the veterinarian will know if some of these enzymes are normally elevated (or lowered) for your animal, which is helpful when diagnosing specific diseases. A urine analysis can also be used to help check kidney function and the possibility of diabetes. Heart function can also decline with age, an ECG and Blood Pressure are 2 in-house diagnostic tools that we can run to check for heart decline. X-rays can be used to look for arthritis in the joints. These are all just a few examples that are looked for with each test. Depending on what is found, the doctor will determine what can or cannot be done and discuss which medications that your pet could be put on to help with any dysfunction.
We at the Wisconsin Valley Veterinary Service aim to take the very best care of your four legged family member/s. We offer canine and feline wellness packages that have different age tiers depending on which package your pet would fall under. Each of the items that are listed in the wellness packages whether it be canine or feline are aimed to test for possible diseases that your pet may or have already developed. The purpose of these wellness packages is to hopefully not find anything that is abnormal, but if it is that it may be helped at an early stage rather than “too late”. Each test will be discussed more in detail in the next article.
If you would like more information on the wellness packages that are offered or what is offered in each package, feel free to contact the Wisconsin Valley Veterinary Service or go to the NEW PATIENT CENTER TABS under ONLINE FORMS