Pets can’t tell us when they are ill. That’s where an annual wellness exam, blood work, and urine analysis come in. During the annual physical exam, we listen to the heart to detect possible murmurs, and increased lung sounds might be an indication of illness. Part of the exam is abdominal palpation to reveal any source of pain, discomfort, and possible masses. We also perform an oral exam to evaluate any dental disease, and check eyes and skin for any changes. It is a good time to ask questions, and we ask questions too! I recommend basic lab work as part of our pet’s annual exam. The results are recorded in their record, and we can compare to previous tests and identify any health trends sooner, before serious disease con develop. In my experience as an owner of two cats, sometimes it can be hard to know if they are ill or if they are losing weight. Cats are the best at hiding pain and discomfort. My own cat had a urinary tract infection and I did not notice any sign of it. Routine blood work normally consists of a complete blood cell count (CBC), a chemistry panel, a thyroid panel, and we usually include a urine analysis. These will help to identify anemia, possible infections, and evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function and more. I recommend routine blood work especially for any pet over the age of seven years old, or pets that are on chronic medication or medication that can affect the liver and kidneys (these medications can include pain medications, medication for urinary incontinence, and behavior modification drugs). My primary goal is to keep your cat and dog healthy and provide the best care available.