Why Not Blood Testing Before Surgery Is Like Going In Blind
Have you ever questioned your vet’s recommendations for a product or service because you didn’t think it was necessary? If you have – you’re not alone. Plenty of people do.
In a society driven by sales hype and add ons it’s only natural that we’ve become sceptical about “professional” recommendations whether it be our dentist, our mechanic, our doctor or any number of other people whose advice we rely on to make improvements in our lives or those of others.
In our industry it’s no different. With so many advancements in animal health care and related technology, we totally agree it can sometimes appear that some of these new services – (to keep your pets safe or help them live longer healthier lives) could easily be confused with unnecessary add ons for practice profit.
That’s why it becomes even more important for us to give you the right (and truthful) information you need to help you make the right decision for your pet and your wallet.
Todays post is about the importance of Blood Testing prior to anaesthesia. Many people remain unconvinced these tests are necessary and too often decline without a full understanding of the reasons why they are as critical to your pet’s safety as the surgical procedure itself.
To do so would be the same as going in blind – there’s no telling what could happen when those drugs are given.
If your pet is having any procedure (short or long) that requires full anaesthsia we need to know that your pet’s internal organs are capable of processing and eliminating the anaesthetic drugs – just like your surgeon would want to know the same about you.
Pre- Anaesthetic testing helps us understand whether your pet’s vital organs are functioning properly to avoid potential complications during and after surgery.
Certain conditions are especially risky for pets under anaesthesia and pre-anaesthetic blood test can show if there are any hidden or undetected health problems which are not obvious from a physical examination alone.
What Information Does The Blood Test Provide?
The results of the blood tests gives us valuable information about the internal health of your pet. For instance, we can quickly determine:
- The health of your pet’s kidneys and liver. These are primarily responsible for processing and eliminating the anaesthetic drugs so we need to know for certain that they are able to do this effectively.
- Your pet’s electolyte balance and hydration status.
- A complete blood count – shows if your pet has an underlying stress inflammation, inability to fight off an infection, is anaemic or has a blood clotting problem.
What Happens If the Blood Test Shows There’s a Problem?
If we find an abnormal result on your pet’s blood profile, we let you know immediately. Depending on what the results indicate, we may delay surgery and treat the underlying condition as a priority or make changes to the anaesthetic protocol to accomodate the problem.
But My Pet Had a Blood Test Just Over a Year ago. Why does she need another one?
A year in your pet’s life represents almost 7 years of ours. This means your pet’s healh status may be signifiantly different since the last blood test.
We recommend blood testing prior to all dentals and surgical procedures for the simple reason that things change AND they can change quickly.
But My Pet is only Young. She Must Be Healthy
We get this response ALL the time. Please be aware that despite your pet’s energy, appetite and zest for life at a young age they can be hiding a developing problem or a congenital defect that hasn’t surfaced – either one of which can severely risk your pet’s life under anaesthesia.
We’ve seen first hand how many times a young pet’s blood test has highlighted a dangerous underlying problem. Had the owner not consented to a blood test before surgery – the patient would have been at considerable risk from the anaesthesia.
It’s true – We have detected moderate to severe kidney and liver disease in dogs and cats as young as 6 months of age.
In these situations surgery was delayed in favour of first treating the underlying condition.
So Yes – Pre- Anaesthetic Blood tests DO play an important role in minimising anaesthetic complications and that’s why we recommend them to all our patients – Young and Old undergoing any surgical procedure at our practice.