Just like your own doctor
A patient walks into a doctor’s office. The patient has blood in his urine and is in pain. The doctor asks questions such as: how long have you had these symptoms, where are you feeling pain? The doctor then goes on to say that she will need to do bloodwork, a urinalysis and possibly an ultrasound. This information is needed to find out what exactly is going on with the patient and how to address the issue. Sound familiar? This is what your general practitioner does when you walk into their office with any symptoms or illness.
As veterinarians, we face an extra hurdle when we try to find out what’s wrong with your pet: the patient can’t tell us what they feel and where exactly they feel it. We have to rely on what you, the owner, tell us about how their behavior changed, any signs of pain, and other symptoms to help us determine what could be wrong. We also rely on diagnostics such as a fecal, a urinalysis, bloodwork, X-rays, an ultrasound or an echocardiogram, to provide us with essential information.
Find out what’s wrong
We are often questioned by our clients about why we need to do bloodwork or an ultrasound. Sometimes clients suggest that we just do it to make more money, which is not the case. If we don’t do any diagnostics, how are we supposed to find out what is wrong with your pet? We can only make them better (which is our ultimate goal) if we know what is causing their symptoms. In order to find out, we need to perform diagnostics.
Why the recheck?
The same goes for recheck appointments after surgery. You go to see your surgeon for a check-up one week to ten days after you’ve had a surgery. We want to check on your pet to make sure it’s recovering, and healing well. It is important that a veterinarian or a veterinary technician lays eyes on your pet to make sure that it’s on the right track and that there are no complications.
Why the bloodwork for a refill?
“My dog has been on this drug for years, why do I need to see the doctor and perform bloodwork to get a refill?” is another question we sometimes hear. For certain drugs, we have to do bloodwork regularly before we can prescribe a refill. For example, if your dog has seizures and we prescribed phenobarbital, we have to monitor their liver values. By doing bloodwork, we can measure the level of the medicine in the blood to determine if the dose is within the correct range to prevent seizures without causing any harmful side effects to the liver. Long-term phenobarbital use can result in liver damage, and we need to monitor bloodwork to ensure this doesn’t happen to your dog.
A veterinarian must examine your pet at least once a year to maintain a veterinary client patient relationship and to be able to safely prescribe a medication. This is a legal requirement by the state to ensure that your pet receives the best possible informed care.
In short, we want what is best for your pet. That will often mean that we have to do bloodwork or other diagnostics in order to be able to make the best decisions about your pet’s health. Our pets are such important members of our families and as veterinarians our goal is to provide the best possible care to give your pet a long, happy and healthy life.