Test Is Not a Four-Letter Word

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For most pet owners, dogs and cats are more than just animals. They offer comfort during life’s challenges, friendship during the good times, and almost always serve as a reminder to ­enjoy the simple things in life. And over the years — perhaps most important — pets become family.

This special connection that develops between pets and their owners often means that it can be devastating when a pet is diagnosed with a serious illness. Fortunately, diagnostic testing offers you and your veterinarian a way to identify potential health problems early, to intervene and treat the illness, and, hopefully, to prolong your pet’s happy life.

Why Is Regular Testing Important?

Much like the “check engine” light in your car, diagnostic tests serve as an important signal to your veterinarian that a pet may ­suffer from an underlying health problem that isn’t clearly visible through physical examination alone. It’s important for dogs and cats, especially as they age, to have periodic diagnostic testing as part of their ­regular wellness exams.

Diagnostic tests play a crucial role in early detection of illnesses. The sooner a problem is found, the sooner your veterinarian can begin work to develop a treatment plan. This early intervention may not only increase the likelihood of a better outcome, it can also improve your pet’s quality of life and may cut down on treatment expenses.

Which Pets Should Be Tested?

The most obvious category of pets that need diagnostic testing is dogs and cats that seem sick or just aren’t acting like themselves. For these pets, it’s ­essential that your veterinarian conducts a complete diagnostic workup as soon as possible.

However, this isn’t the only group that can benefit from diagnostic testing. It’s also important to regularly test healthy pets. Some illnesses cannot be detected through physical examination alone, and a sick cat or dog may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms.

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