Thursday, 05 May 2016 00:00

Why do wellness bloodwork? Boomer's Story

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Kate & Boomer’s Story

Boomer is my “heart dog.” My family adopted him as a puppy when I was in Jr. High. We grew up together and continue to learn from each other every day. His outgoing, yet stubborn personality inspires my thirst for knowledge, my passion for training, and my goal to “be the person your dog thinks you are.” He’s truly the definition of “man’s best friend.”  

Every year at his wellness exam we complete routine bloodwork. This baseline helped us immensely last spring when Boomer suddenly became sick. Over the course of a month, Boomer gradually lost interest in food. He had always been a very energetic, active dog, and he had slowly become subdued. He suddenly was no longer the bouncing, playful 9-year-old he had been. At his exam we ran bloodwork to check his organ function and blood cell count. This panel showed extremely elevated liver levels. After supportive care and an ultrasound we decided to take Boomer to see an internal medicine specialist at Blue Pearl.

There are many tough decisions to make when dealing with a sick pet. Boomer’s ultrasound hadn’t provided a diagnosis. It had helped rule out any obvious masses or tumors that could cause the elevation in his bloodwork. I was optimistic knowing the risk of cancer had lowered. The best option for a diagnosis was to take surgical biopsies of the liver. This would help determine the cause of Boomer’s illness and lead us in the right direction for treatment.

When the doctor presented our options there were so many thoughts going through my head. Obviously, I wanted to do what was best for Boomer. Surgery seemed liked the best option, as our previous treatments hadn’t been able to help him. He was becoming weaker every day and I didn’t want him to suffer. But surgery was terrifying, especially for an older dog that was so sick. What if we did surgery and found out he had something we couldn’t treat? I didn’t want to put him through something so invasive if there was no hope for recovery.

Thankfully, I had a key piece of information available to me: a history of wellness bloodwork. By looking at his routine bloodwork over the years we were able to see trends and develop a timeline of when this disease had started. His most recent bloodwork was completed just four months prior to him falling ill and was relatively normal. Knowing this disease began within the last few months was my ray of hope during this journey. I clung to the fact that I knew this disease had not been steadily brewing for years. This disease had suddenly appeared and I had hoped it could disappear just as quickly.

Boomer had his surgery at Blue Pearl. He recovered well and was diagnosed with inflammatory hepatitis. With the correct treatment on board, I noticed a huge improvement in his energy and appetite within the first week after surgery! I cannot express how grateful I am to have had baseline bloodwork to reference during this difficult time. This knowledge gave me more than information. It gave me hope.

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