Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Wellness Exams: Cookie's Latest Check-Up

Most people love to spoil their dogs. This can be done in many different ways. But if you want to spoil your dog in a meaningful way, don't forget the things they can actually appreciate and don't forget wellness exams.

Wellness Exams: Cookie's Latest Check-Up

There are few things you can do for your dog to increase their chances of a long, quality life. Wellness exams are high on that list.

Problems can brew under the surface without anybody being any wiser.


By the time you might see signs and symptoms, you already have a significant problem on your hands. Regular physical exam and lab work helps catch a potential disease early when it's much easier to address and offers a substantially improved prognosis.

When my dogs reach their "middle age," I have them typically checked twice a year.


Senior dogs should absolutely get a thorough exam that often. Young, healthy dogs, might do with once a year.

It is hard to believe that Cookie is going to be six-and-a-half-years old already. Especially with her history and breed, I am not taking any chances.

I was thrilled to find out that she is doing well.


We are still having some struggles with her weight, but we're working on it. We are also keeping up with her chiropractic care and physical therapy.

Other than all that, her exam and lab work confirms she is in a great shape which was a great relief. Her labs also look good.

Curiously, it is my experience that every blood panel will come with one or two values out of whack. We had issues with Cookies ALT levels, kidney values, platelets ... When that happens, one needs to figure out whether it really means something, what it might mean, and how to confirm or rule out a true problem. For example, BUN and Creatinine can be elevated because the kidneys are not happy, or simply because of dehydration.

When Cookies were high, the first thing we did was check her first-morning urine to see whether the kidneys are happy or not. The urine was perfectly normal, and the next time the values looked great. It was not such easy journey with the ALT.



This time, all values are calm, quiet and well-behaved. Though you can see the one red line that goes with the ALP (another of liver values) being below normal.

What does it mean when ALP is below normal? Fortunately, it means nothing at all. At least not when it happens just once. If it were a consistent finding, I'd get more insistent on figuring out why it's happening.

It is not showing above because we had to use a different lab but we also tested SDMA. This is the newer, better kidney test which is supposed to give a more advanced warning of kidney issues. I like to do this one at least once a year. It came back looking good as well. Together with normal Creatinine and no suspicious upward trends, it's a good reason to believe Cookie's kidneys are in good shape.

The difference between the usefulness of SDMA over Creatinine testing is that Creatinine levels don't get elevated until at least 75% kidney damage. That isn't really what I'd call an advanced warning. The SDMA, on the other hand, signals kidney problems about 12 months earlier than that. At least as believed, since it's a relatively new test. Good enough reason for me to want to have in included.

In the spring, we also always include a test for heartworm and tick-borne diseases.


I was happy to learn that all of that came back negative.

Everything is looking good so I can relax until the fall when we do all this all over again.


Related articles:
What's the Difference between Annual Exams and Wellness Exams?

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot?
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking Too Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy, and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: Restricted Activity and Weight Management
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update
Has Your Dog's Physical Therapist Taken Dog Training Classes? 
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear Update and Considering the Future
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate (CCL/ACL) Tear and Leg Circumference
Cookie's Wellness Exam
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: What Do You Use for Tick Prevention?
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: The Verdict Is In (for Now)
Cookie's Annual Heartworm and Tick-Borne Diseases Test
One Yelp, No Yelp. But Two?
One Yelp, No Yelp - Update
Cookie's Rabies Booster
Is Your Dog Struggling with Weight in spite of Diet and Exercise? Cookie Is Hypothyroid (Part I)
What Does the Thyroid Do? Cookie is Hypothyroid (Part II)
Thyroid Replacement Therapy: Cookie is Hypothyroid (Part III)
Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment (PRP) for Partial Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Tears: Would I Do It Again?
Thyroid Replacement Therapy Re-Check: Cookie Is Hypothyroid (Part IV)
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: Tick Tag Results Evaluation
Cookie's Fur Analysis
Cookie's Fur Analysis: Lithium
You Don't Always Have to See a Limp
It Never Rains ... Though Rain Did Have a Lot to Do with It
All Is Well in Noel(ville)
Dog Care, Trust, and Cooperation


Do you have a story to share?
Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!


What were the first signs you noticed? How did your dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:

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