Why is Pre-Anesthetic blood testing recommended for my pet?
Anesthesia and surgery are safer than ever however risks still exist. A thorough medical history and complete physical exam remain the best tools to help prevent anesthetic complications. Numerous disease entities can be detected by asking the right questions and putting our hands on our patients. Animals cannot tell us what is wrong and can be great at hiding illness. Pre-anesthetic blood testing allows veterinarians to look beyond our exam and further rule out underlying problems. Even subtle issues can increase the risks associated with anesthetic events and surgical procedures. These tests also provide an important baseline for your pet’s health and can be used to monitor their health moving forward.
What happens if problems are identified?
If our pre-anesthetic blood testing reveals underlying problems we may recommend changing our anesthetic protocol to suit the patients needs. Anesthesia at our hospital is not one size fits all. We have numerous options that allow us the flexibility to provide the best care for our patients. In other instances we may elect to postpone the procedure while medical therapies are instituted.
What are we looking for?
Pre-anesthetic blood testing involves drawing a small blood sample that can be evaluated prior to or the day of the procedure. A complete serum chemistry profile looks at the fluid portion of the blood. By analyzing the chemicals and proteins present we can evaluate kidney and liver function, rule out diabetes, as well as look for cancer. A complete blood count looks for signs of infection, inflammation and cancer. Problems in the blood clotting system can also be identified.
Who should have Pre-Anesthetic testing performed?
We require pre-anesthetic blood testing for older patients. Age is not a disease but older individuals are more likely to have underlying problems that increase anesthetic risk. However we advise owners to consider blood work in all patients undergoing anesthetic events. Though younger pets are typically more healthy we can still find underlying genetic diseases or other problems that can cause issues during surgery or anesthesia.
What other testing is available?
Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests due to other previously diagnosed problems. Often x- rays and an EKG will be advised when anesthesia is needed for a patient with heart disease. X-rays of the abdomen can be helpful with liver, intestinal problems or diseases affecting the urinary system. Imaging like x-rays or ultrasounds can help look for metastatic disease prior to cancer surgery. More specific blood tests can further evaluate liver function or rule out endocrine disorders.
Why say yes to Pre- Anesthetic testing?
Blood tests will confirm that your pet’s organs are functioning properly and will help detect hidden problems that can dramatically increase the risks associated with anesthesia and surgery. It allows your veterinarian to provide the safest anesthetic event by reducing risks of anesthetic and surgical complications.
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