Why Does My Healthy Pet Need a Wellness Screening?

Care & Wellness, Cats, Dogs

Answer: Because when it comes to pets, not everything is always as it seems and a healthy exterior can hide troubling internal problems.

Wellness screenings allow us to:

  • Monitor your pet for abnormalities
  • Act on any early changes
  • Make sure any medications can safely be administered
  • And, be certain that prescribed medications are not having no ill-effect.

Simply put, wellness screenings equate to good medicine and the best life for your pet.

What Do Veterinarians Look for When Screening?

Answer: We use a variety of tests to give us information that is pertinent to the health and well-being of your pet. These tests include:

The Cell Blood Count

The CBC, or Cell Blood Count, lets us know the levels of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. White blood cells are increased with infection or inflammation. Red blood cells are decreased with anemia. A low platelet count can point us to tick-borne diseases, which are ever more increasing in Maryland.

The Chemistry Panel

The Chemistry panel yields an incredible amount of information.

  • A low albumin is seen with inflammatory bowel disease which we can often treat with a special diet.
  • An elevated level of the liver enzyme ALT tells us there may be unknown liver disease and the next step is to schedule an abdominal ultrasound.
  • An elevated alkaline phosphatase enzyme may mean your dog has Cushing’s disease.
  • Increases in the BUN, creatinine, and SDMA detect early kidney disease – the sooner we start medications and special food, the better and longer the quality of life.
  • Detection of an elevated potassium level may point to a lurking fatal disease called Addison’s, which is very treatable if detected early.
  • Detection of an elevated proBNP (an abnormal heart muscle protein) in your normal appearing cat may mean subclinical cardiac disease, again very treatable if picked up early. The next recommended step would be an echogram of the heart.
  • Abnormally low levels of the thyroid hormone means your dog may be have hypothyroidism, abnormal high levels of the same hormone equates to hyperthyroidism in your cat, both diseases very treatable.
  • Could your pet be diabetic? That’s why we check the glucose level.

The Urinalysis Test

The urinalysis lets us check for an infection of the kidneys, bladder or prostate. It also tells us your pet’s kidneys are healthy and can handle the many medications (eg. Carprofen) we prescribe to them.

Tick and Heartworm Tests

The tick and heartworm test lets us know that your dog is free of any blood parasites. Again, the sooner we detect something, the more likely it is treatable. For example, it takes about 5 years for a dog to develop heart failure from a heartworm infection. If we detect the infection before by checking the blood every year, we can cure your dog and maintain normal heart function.

Intestinal Parasite Screening

The fecal test or stool check lets us make sure your dog or cat is free of intestinal parasites. You can have peace of mind knowing that your pet’s gastrointestinal tract is healthy and contains no worms.

What is the Best Part of Doing a Wellness Screen?

Answer: Our veterinarians enjoy nothing better than calling you on the phone to let you know that your pet’s lab tests are normal! We can make better decisions with medications, anesthesia and surgery, and diets. Plus, it gives you comfort to know that you are in better control of your pet and its health.

Doing these lab tests every 12 months (every 6 months for older healthy pets) gives us current and important information about your pet’s condition, allowing us to make the best decisions for their health!

Dr. Joseph Zulty

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

Rabies Vaccine and Your Pet

The rabies virus is carried by wild animals and spread through saliva - most commonly via the bites or scratches of infected animals. Dogs are the most frequent carriers worldwide but in this country, where we routinely vaccinate dogs, the most common carriers are...

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

More people are traveling by car this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are bringing your pet with you, planning ahead will make the adventure safe and enjoyable for your furry family member. Pet Travel Tips from your Veterinarian If traveling by car we do...

This Summer, Keep Your Dog Safe From Heat and Free From Fear of Fireworks

As July 4th and summer is approaching, it’s a good time to get educated on the latest recommendations to keep your dog safe from overheating, and free from anxiety caused by fireworks. Fireworks Are No Fun For Most Dogs A recent study showed that 3 out 4 dogs are...

My Dog Has Stomach Pain. Could it Be Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a painful condition that afflicts some dogs. There are quite a few different causes of pancreatitis: Trauma, cancer, breed-specific conditions, and diet are all known causes. For the purpose of this post, we will focus on dietary related pancreatitis....

More Resource Categories:

Does My Pet Need Regular Check-Ups?

Everybody knows the best way to ensure you—or your pet—lives a long, healthy life is by eating well and exercising...

Independence Day Can Be a Scary Day for Animals

Did you know that July 4th is the busiest day of the year in shelters across the U.S., with many dogs and cats getting...
Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

We will be closed today, Wednesday, September 23 from 12:30-2:30 for our monthly staff meeting. If you have a pet emergency, please call or go directly to:
Pet ER - 410-252-8387 or
Animal Emergency Hospital - 410-420-7297
... See MoreSee Less

We will be closed today, Wednesday, September 23 from 12:30-2:30 for our monthly staff meeting. If you have a pet emergency, please call or go directly to:
Pet ER - 410-252-8387 or
Animal Emergency Hospital - 410-420-7297

We will be closed today, Friday, September 11 from 1:30-2:30 for our monthly department meetings. If you have a pet emergency, please call or go directly to:
Pet ER - 410-252-8387 or
Animal Emergency Hospital - 410-420-7297
... See MoreSee Less

We will be closed today, Friday, September 11 from 1:30-2:30 for our monthly department meetings. If you have a pet emergency, please call or go directly to:
Pet ER - 410-252-8387 or
Animal Emergency Hospital - 410-420-7297

Our phones and computers are back up and running - thanks for your patience!!! ... See MoreSee Less

Load more