Saturday, July 25, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: What Your Vet Really Wants to Tell You and more ...

Case Study: Discovering Early Kidney Disease with SDMA

Earlier this year I highlighted a new blood test that should allow screening for kidney disease way ahead of standard test used. It is a test I definitely plan on having done on our dogs' next annual wellness blood panel.

This case study highlights the outcome of putting the SDMA into clinical practice.

A 6-year-old, spayed female golden retriever came in because she was a bit off for several weeks. Just ever so slightly under the weather. There was nothing in her history to point to a problem. There was nothing really remarkable on her blood panel either. BUT and creatinine, the values normally checked to assess kidney function were in the upper normal.

(One thing to watch with these values isn't only whether or not they fall within the normal range but also trends over time. If they remain within normal range but seem slowly shifting toward high end of normal, it is something to pay attention to. I always like to review our dogs' blood results and compare them to previous tests.)

SDMA was higher than normal range. Further diagnostics confirmed early kidney disease.

Will my pet be in pain?

Many people still seem to be in the dark on the simple principle - if it would hurt me, it hurts my dog too. Whether it's bad teeth, injuries or other health issues, these things hurt. There isn't much difference between the way ourselves and our dogs perceive pain.

There was a time when it was believed that animals didn't experience pain the way we do. But research says otherwise.
  • talk to your vet about signs of pain
  • talk your vet about pain management
  • talk about rehabilitation and other steps to manage chronic pain

What Your Vet Really Wants to Tell You

Don't avoid your dog's annual exam. Don't avoid your dog's annual exam. Don't avoid your dog's annual exam.

Regular wellness exams are so important. We never skimp on them. Do you? Every blue moon is technically regular too but your dog needs to see a vet at least once a year.

First aid for pets

Would you know what to do if your dog got injured, got a seizure or ate rat bait? Learn what you should do if your dog is bleeding, limping, got dirt in their eye, torn nail, got bitten by a snake or an insect and more.

While at it, check out what we got in our dogs' first-aid kit. Just yesterday I was happy to have sterile saline in it, as we needed to flush a blade of grass out of Cookie's eye. Couple weeks ago Cookie got stung by something in her mouth. I didn't see what it was, just saw her reaction to it. Fortunately, Benadryl, also included in the kit, took care of it.


  1. This fall, I want to take our dogs in for a blood panel. I've never done it before and will start with the adults and then do the puppies in the winter. I want to get ahead of any potential health issues.

    1. Annual blood panel is something we've always done. Not only it can show brewing problems early but it's a good idea to have at least one for a young healthy dog to serve as a baseline. That way, you can compare any new panel to that and watch not only for values that are out off whack but trends also. Trends are just as important, particularly with values such as Creatinine or ALT.