Veterinarians recommend bloodwork at various life stages for a variety of reasons. He or she should always be able to tell you what they are looking for. In a healthy pet, many owners wonder why it is recommended. Early detection and baseline parameters are the two main reasons we recommend bloodwork in a healthy pet. Almost all diseases are best treated in the early stages and when this occurs we not only extend the length of our pets life but the quality as well.
A basic blood panel can tell us a lot about a pets health. It gives us a reading on kidney function, liver function, pancreatic function, electrolyte balance, immune function to include red and white blood cell levels, and in some cases thyroid or other hormone levels.
In addition to this there are many more tests that can be tailored to your pets specific condition or breed. For example, there is a test that quantifies the stretch of heart muscle putting a number on the severity of a patient's heart condition. This can be a wonderful test in a cat that you may not yet be prepared to take to a veterinary cardiologist after learning he or she has a heart murmur. The list is extensive for preventive health tests that can be run.
We are not advocating having every test under the sun performed on your pet. However, having a conversation with your vet about particular disease processes that may be a concern for your pet as they age, based on breed, lifestyle, diet, or behavior is warranted.