Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Routine medication: What does this mean for my pet?
Many illnesses such as advanced arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disease, cardiac disease, allergies, etc. require the use of medication long term (chronic) in order to control or treat the disease. It is important in these cases that the pet have frequent examinations and blood work. This helps us monitor the pet's condition for side effects and make needed dose changes in a timely manner. Also keep in mind that our pet's age much faster that we do. Six months for cats and dogs are the equivalent of 5 to 10 years to people. Examinations include not only the physical exam of your pet, but also other less obvious things such as weight monitoring and appropriate questions to help evaluate your pet's progress.
Routine blood work is indicated for animals on chronic medication. In some cases blood work helps to determine what dosage of medication your pet should be on (i.e. diabetes, thyroid disease, epilepsy). In other cases, blood work helps to monitor for potentially harmful side-effects (arthritis, cardiac, epilepsy medication). In addition, most pets being treated for these types of diseases are older and, therefore, more likely to have additional complicating diseases such periodontal disease, urinary infection, etc. Routine examinations and blood testing can help identify these situations so that they can be appropriately addressed. These things together will help your veterinarian determine when changes in treatment need to be made. Frequent monitoring of your pet's condition is an important part of working to increase his/her life span and quality of life.
The frequency and type of blood tests your pet need is determined by the disease being treated and the medication itself. For the most part, we recommend testing be done after any dosage change and then every 6 to 12 months depending on the illness. If you are unsure about your pet's situation, ask your veterinarian what type of schedule is best for your pet.