Oak Hills Veterinary Clinic & Bird Hospital

1212 Wallace Rd NW
Salem, OR 97304

(503)581-8161

oakhillsvetclinic.com

Why Do Our Pets Need Yearly Lab Screening?

First, our pets can't speak to us when they feel unwell or have any other indicators of internal illness.  In addition, some pets will mask signs of illness until late in the course of the disease.  Thus, they need to be examined every six to twelve months, and to have lab testing performed.  When you bring your pet in for an annual exam, your doctor and the technician will talk to you about the specific tests that your pet needs.  These will depend upon his physical exam, his age and the type of lifestyle that he has. 

Both cats and dogs can develop chronic health conditions as they age. These include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes.  By performing annual lab testing, we can catch these problems early and intervene with appropriate treatments.  

We believe the following annual tests give us the best chance of helping your pets live longer, happier, healthier lives.

The guidelines below are approximations and may vary by gender, species and breed.

Dogs

0-3 years

Internal Parasite Check:  Parasites are everywhere in the soil.  Our pets ingest these when they drink out of puddles, eat grass or dirt, or lick their paws after walking outdoors.  This test is important to keep you healthy too, since some parasites will also affect people.

Heartworm Test:  While heartworm disease isn't endemic in this area yet, we do find positive cases.  It's important to catch this devastating disease early, so an annual heartworm test is really important.  Prevention is always best.  We can prevent heartworm and internal parasites with a monthly medication like Trifexis or Heartgard Plus.

Cats

0-3 years 

Internal Parasite Check (both indoor and outdoor cats):  Even indoor cats are at risk due to parasite eggs that are carried in on owners' shoes.  We do find indoor-only cats with roundworms.

FELV/FIV Test (indoor/outdoor cats):  If your cat goes outdoors and may have contact with neighborhood cats, then this test needs to be performed annually.  Even if a cat will be indoor only, it should be tested once for these diseases upon adoption.

Dogs

4-6 years 

Internal Parasite Check:  see above.

Heartworm Test:  see above.

Complete Blood Count and Chemistry Panel:  If your dog is four years of age or older, he needs both of these blood tests every year.  Pets age more quickly than we do - about seven years for every one that we live.  A lot can change in one year.  The complete blood count is a test that looks at both red and white blood cells and platelets.  It helps us to screen for anemia and infection. The chemistry panel is the companion test to the complete blood count and gives us valuable information about how the internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are functioning.  It also confirms the presence of metabolic conditions like diabetes.  

Cats

4-6 years 

Internal Parasite Check:  see above.

FELV/FIV Test:  see above (indoor-outdoor cats only).

Complete Blood Count and Chemistry Panel:  If your cat is four years of age or older, he needs both of these blood tests every year.  Pets age more quickly than we do - about seven years for every one that we live.  A lot can change in one year.  The complete blood count is a test that looks at both red and white blood cells and platelets.  It helps us to screen for anemia and infection. The chemistry panel is the companion test to the complete blood count and gives us valuable information about how the internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are functioning.  It also confirms the presence of metabolic conditions like diabetes. 


Dogs

7+ years

Fecal Analysis:  see above.

Heartworm Test:  see above.

Complete Blood Count and Chemistry Panel:  see above

Thyroid Check:  Once a pet reaches the age of seven, it's time to begin checking thyroid function.  Thyroid disease is another condition that frequently develops in older pets, and causes symptoms that can include hair loss, weight gain or loss, and behavior changes.  If treatment is implemented in a timely manner, serious consequences may be avoided.

Urinalysis:  Your dog needs an annual urinalysis, even if he isn't showing signs of urinary problems.You would be amazed at how many urinary tract infections we diagnose in pets each year, when the owner had no idea that a problem was present!  In addition to revealing hidden infections or crystals, it also indicates how well the kidneys are working and can even alert us to the presence of conditions such as diabetes.

Cats

7+ years


Internal Parasite Check:  see above

FELV/FIV Test:  see above (indoor-outdoor cats only)

Complete Blood Count and Chemistry Panel:  see above.

Thyroid Check:   Once your cat reaches the age of seven, it's time to begin checking thyroid function.  Thyroid disease is another condition that frequently develops in older pets, and causes symptoms that can include hair loss, weight gain or loss, and behavior changes.  If treatment is implemented in a timely manner, serious consequences may be avoided.

Urinalysis:   Your cat also needs an annual urinalysis, even if he isn't showing signs of urinary problems.You would be amazed at how many urinary tract infections we diagnose in pets each year, when the owner had no idea that a problem was present!  In addition to revealing hidden infections or crystals that can cause urinary blockages, it also indicates how well the kidneys are working and can even alert us to the presence of conditions such as diabetes.