Although a yearly routine physical exam can provide a lot of valuable information to the veterinarian, routine blood and urine tests are often recommended to get a complete picture of the health of your cat and alert us of any concerns that have not yet shown themselves outwardly. Routine, or wellness blood tests, generally consist of a complete blood count (CBC), a blood chemistry profile and a test for thyroid hormone levels. A test for feline leukemia and feline AIDS may be recommended if the status of these diseases are unknown.
Why are blood tests important for my cat’s health?
Cats are notoriously skilled at hiding illness. In some cases, diseases can already be quite advanced by the time they are showing signs to their owners. Annual wellness testing is highly valuable regardless if test results come back as normal. It lets us know that your cat is healthy, provides us with a timeline should things change and informs us of diseases that are developing. Early detection allows for early intervention, and this will often add years of good health and happiness for you and your cat!
How long does it take to get blood test results?
Many blood tests are run in-house, and results can often be reported back to owners within 24 hours or less. Blood tests run before anesthetic procedures give immediate results used by us to make informed choices regarding your pet’s anesthesia. Tests sent to external laboratories can take a few days or, in rare situations, longer to get back. We make every effort to get results to you as soon as we have had time to interpret them and make a plan for your pet’s ongoing care.
How should I prepare my cat for their blood tests?
Whether it is for a blood collection, an exam or a vaccine, you can help prepare your cat for any trip to the vet by having practices at home. This will help minimize the stress and anxiety that comes with travel and a visit to a vet clinic. These practices might include leaving their carrier in an accessible spot at all times so they are comfortable being in and around it, taking your cat on short car rides with positive experiences on a regular basis, not feeding right before a car ride to help minimize car sickness, covering the carrier with a blanket so the cat feels more secure and using a calming synthetic pheromone such as Feliway to reduce stress. Once at the clinic, a technician who has been trained to use a fear-free approach will proceed with the blood collection, which is typically a quick procedure.
How often should blood tests be done?
If you do not have any health concerns and the veterinarian has not noted anything different, we advocate for annual testing once a cat reaches prime adulthood (3 years old). Routine blood tests should be done yearly to establish normal trends in blood parameters and be able to identify diseases as early as possible. If your pet is ill or is on long-term medication, your veterinarian will advise you on timing, frequency and the types of diagnostic testing that should be done for your cat.
Does your hospital perform urinalysis and biopsy?
Yes, urinalysis is a helpful diagnostic tool often added to routine wellness testing as it contributes to a complete internal picture. Urinalysis may also be performed when your pet is exhibiting signs of a urinary tract disease or when abnormal blood work suggests it should be. The majority of urinalysis are performed on-site.