The next time you take your Norfolk to the vet for a routine dentistry, a spay or neuter, or an annual physical and someone on the veterinary team suggests doing some routine bloodwork think twice before declining because, "Fido's fine and I don't want to do anything that isn't absolutely necessary."
The fact is, you can't always tell if Fido is fine just by looking at him.
In March of this year I brought my six year old bitch, Fleury, to the vet for a routine spay and dental. She's given me four litters of fine puppies, and I promised her I'd get her spayed so that we could concentrate on her performance career without having to take time out for heat cycles or maternity leave.
I elected to have a "pre-screen" done and in the interests of full disclosure I work at the practice and don't have to worry about the cost of in house blood work. Still, it would have been easy to skip this step. After all, Fleury hasn't had a sick day in her life.
Imagine my surprise when her white blood count came up dangerously low. We ran a 3DX snap test for Heart worm, Lyme, and Ehrlichia Canis and all were negative. A blood sample was sent to the outside laboratory and the results next day were even more dramatic than those shown by our own test. We then ran a full tick panel, and the results were positive for Ehrlichia Equi.
Fleury has been successfully treated for the Ehrlichia and her bloodwork is almost back to normal. We have a few questions, and are continuing to test to make sure all values stay headed in the right direction, but everything looks pretty good.
It would have been dangerous to Fleury had she undergone surgery when her blood values were so dramatically out of the normal range. Had the Ehrlicia gone undiagnosed, there would have been some pretty nasty side effects and a late diagnosis might have come too late to be helpful. All in all, I don't think it's being too dramatic to say that taking the time to do one simple blood test may have saved her life.
ANTIC, September, 2006
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