With dogs and cats, we often do not see the signs of disease until it is more advanced, making it much harder to treat. This is especially true for cats, who are experts at hiding early symptoms.
Diagnostic testing plays a very important role in both the early detection and monitoring of disease processes. We now have some blood tests that can specifically detect cancer at an early stage, before there are other external signs.
Routine blood tests will check for general wellness by evaluating kidney, liver, and digestive function, along with red and white blood cell counts that will check for anemia and signs of infection in the body. Specialized testing can evaluate the endocrine system for hormonal imbalances.
X-rays and ultrasound will check for physical changes in the organs that can happen with age, as well as detecting signs of cancer.
We can now measure key indicators in the blood that specifically test for an increased cancer risk in your pet. One of these is a marker that indicates abnormal cell division, which is a well-known characteristic of cancer cells. The other is a measure of inflammation, which is present in all dis-ease states in the body. While inflammation does not specifically point to a diagnosis of cancer, when present along with abnormally dividing cells, it is highly suggestive and indicates looking further.
If we detect abnormalities, we can immediately take steps to reduce inflammation, support the immune system, and slow or prevent the growth of cancer. We can also proceed with other tests such as x-rays and ultrasound to look for the formation of cancer in the body.
Routine diagnostic testing will allow us to step in and begin supporting your pet before it begins to get sick. Please do not skip this important step!